India's judge-population ratio stands at 21: Law Minister tells LS

Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal speaks in the Lok Sabha (Photo: PTI)

While the Law Commission had recommended a target of 50 judges per million people 36 years ago, India has 21 judges per million people, the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

To calculate the judge-population ratio, the Ministry of Justice used the population data from the 2011 Census (1210.19 million) and the sanctioned strength of judges in the Supreme Court, 25 high courts and district and subordinate courts in 2023, said Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal in a written reply.

“As per the target recommended by the Law Commission report of 1987 recommending 50 judges per million population, the judge population ratio in the country currently stands at about 21 judges per million population,” the minister said.

On the timeline to bridge the gap, the minister said increasing the number of judges in the higher judiciary is an ongoing and joint exercise between the executive and the judiciary.

In the case of district and subordinate courts, the need for an appropriate number of judges and the consequent requirement for filling up the vacancies lies within the domain of the respective high courts and the state governments, he noted.

“It can be seen that the strength of the judiciary has clearly increased over time, with the working strength of the district judiciary increasing from 15,115 judicial officers, as against a sanctioned strength of 19,518 in the year 2014, rising to a working strength of 20,026 as against the sanctioned strength of 25,423 in the year 2023,” he said.

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First print: December 8, 2023 | 10:03 PM IST