India needs atleast 70,000 judges to clear the backlog of cases which are pending for years in courts, said Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur after inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Orissa High Court circuit bench.

The Chief Justice of India says shortage of judges was one of the formidable challenges Indian judiciary was facing at present.

Speaking at a programme organised by Orissa high court, Justice Thakur expressed grave concerns over the shortage of judges and delay in their appointment process.

Supreme Court Justice Dipak Mishra, Orissa High Court Chief Justice Vineet Saran, and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were among those present at the event.

He said that the government should expedite the process of filling up vacancies to ensure speedy delivery of justice.

# “It’s unfortunate that the machinery involved in appointment of judges continues to run very slowly,”

said Thakur.

“Justice is a fundamental right and no government can afford to deny its people their fundamental right,”

he added.

Justice Thakur had recently made an emotional outburst while speaking on the issue in New Delhi as well.

Concerned over the delay in appointment of judges, Thakur said that over 3 crore cases are pending in different courts in the country while there are more than 30 lakh cases pending in the high courts.

Out of the 900 sanctioned strength of judges in high courts, around 450 posts are lying vacant.

He also stated that in 1987, the government’s Law Commission in its assessment had cited that India needed 44,000 judges.

“But even after 30 years down the line, we continue to work with limited strength.

We have 18,000 judges in the country presently.

If we go by the population, we require more than 70,000 judges to clear backlog of cases. This poses a major challenge for us,” expressed Justice Thakur.

However despite all these shortcomings, the confidence of people on judiciary has increased in all these years, said Justice Thakur.

“Confidence of people in the judiciary has multiplied and increased in last several years. This makes our challenge greater as we have to keep up the confidence of people by ensuring justice to them.”

The chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the state government had taken up with the Centre the issue of filling up vacant posts of judges in the high court.

“The government has rendered all assistance and financial support for infrastructural development of the courts in the state. We have established 30 judicial magistrate first class courts for ensuring speedy trials of crime against women in Odisha,”

Patnaik said.

He said another 26 additional judicial magistrates’ courts were set up in remote and topographically challenging areas of the state.

“Odisha has established rural courts to cater to the population living there. A modern court complex of the high court has been constructed and an Odisha Judicial Academy set up for capacity building of judicial officers,”

Patnaik added.

India Needs More Than 70,000 Judges To Clear Pending Cases : CJI