Govt proposes to increase SC judges from 25 to 30

The Government proposed to increase the strength of Supreme Court judges from 25 to 30, a meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by PM Manmohan Singh, approved a proposal to increase the number of judges in the apex court, excluding the Chief Justice, to 30. A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved a proposal to increase the number of judges in the apex court, excluding the Chief Justice, to 30. "The increase in the number of judges will allow Supreme Court to function more efficiently and effectively towards attaining the ultimate goal of rendering speedy justice to litigants," an official spokesperson said. A bill to amend the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956, would be introduced in Parliament soon, she said. In 1986, the number of judges in the Supreme Court were increased from 18 to 25 plus the Chief Justice. Reports said there were about 47,000 cases pending before the court till January this year. The Government had earlier informed Parliament that the pendency of cases in the apex court had increased by about 25 percent since 2006. States' power to act against wheat hoarding to get extension The Centre has decided to extend the validity of power it granted to state governments, under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, for another six months to enable them take action against hoarding of wheat and pulses. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for issuing a Central Order under section 3 of the Act for extending the validity of its earlier notification for another six months beyond 29th February, an official statement said. The Centre had issued a notification on 29th August 2006 for a period of six months and the same has been extended from time to time. The central government had asked the states to take stringent measures against hoarding of foodgrain when the rate of inflation had crossed the 6 percent mark last year. Under the Act, the states can register cases against persons engaged in hoarding of agricultural commodities and the offenders can be imprisoned for a period of up to six months. The government is worried that the inflation rate, which is hovering around 4 percent now, may go up in the coming days on the impact of a recent hike in petrol and diesel prices. The prices of pulses have began firming up in the domestic market and the government is finding it difficult to import wheat at reasonable prices. The Essential Commodities Act, 1955, provides for the control of production, supply and distribution of certain commodities identified as essential under the Act to protect the interest of consumers.

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