New Delhi: The central government has appointed 17 judges to the Supreme Court and 315 judges across several high courts during its four years in power, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.

The minister also said that 247 additional judges had been made permanent.

The number of fast-track courts had increased from 281 to 727, Prasad said at a press conference. The government had also set up 12 special fast-track courts for trial of criminal cases against members of Parliament and members of legislative assemblies.

He also commented on how the centre had repealed 1,428 central laws and identified 1,824 central acts that needed to be repealed.

Regarding the appointment of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is next in line to be the Chief Justice of India (CJI), the minister said: “There’s a convention in place and the sitting CJI (Justice Dipak Misra) has to forward the name of the new CJI. Let that name come first." Gogoi’s appointment has been the topic of speculation following his participation with three other senior judges of the Supreme Court (justices J. Chelameswar, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph) at a press conference where the four spoke against administrative issued at the Supreme Court.

Prasad also highlighted the government’s progress with regard to Aadhaar, saying “59.15 crore Indians have linked their 87.79 crore bank accounts to Aadhaar". Aadhaar has now become the bedrock of government welfare programmes, the tax administration network and online financial transactions, he said. The judgment on petitions challenging its constitutional validity and other aspects has been reserved by the apex court. A 10-member expert committee headed by former supreme court justice B.N. Srikrishna is currently preparing a draft data protection legislation.

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