The Supreme Court (SC) will swear in four new judges on Monday, increasing the total strength of judges to 34 from 31 as sanctioned under the amended law. The four new judges who will take oath are Chief Justice V. Ramasubramanian of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Justice Krishna Murari from Punjab and Haryana High Court, Rajasthan Chief Justice S.A. Ravindra Bhat and Kerala Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy.
The Central government had on 18 September cleared the SC collegiums-recommended names of judges for the appointment.
Post the enactment of the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Bill of 2019 into law, the judicial strength of the apex court has been increased to 34.
In the light of a higher count of SC judges, a single judge bench will be assigned to deal with bail and transfer petitions.
The new provisions added under the Supreme Court Ruled 2013 now referred to as the Supreme Court (amendment) rules, 2019 will allow the Chief Justice of India to appoint a single judge to sit regularly to decide transfer petitions and special leave petitions related to bail (anticipatory and regular).
The SC has more than 60,000 pending cases. This step is an endeavour to reduce the pendency of the cases, especially with respect to criminal matters.
Previously, it was only during the vacation period when a single judge bench would decide on a case. On regular days, there would be either a two-judge (division bench) or a three-judge bench hearing varied cases.
There are also reports suggesting the SC might assign a permanent constitutional bench comprising five judges to deal with matters pertaining to constitutional provisions and its interpretation.