Even as nearly 40 lakh cases are pending, the various high courts in the country are short of 232 judges, according to a latest estimate.
As per June, 2009 estimate, the 21 high courts in the country have a total sanctioned strength of 886 judges. But the actual working strength is 654 judges.
The Allahabad High Court, which has the maximum number of sanctioned strength of 160 judges in the country, has 72 vacancies.
At present, proposals for appointment of 42 judges in various high courts are under consideration by the government, official sources said.
To fill up the remaining 190 vacancies in both the bar and judicial services, proposals are to be initiated by Chief Justices of the various high courts.
A December 2008 estimate says 39,14,669 cases were pending in the various HCs.
The Law Commission in its 120th report a few years ago had recommended that the strength of judges per million populations might be increased from 10.5 to 50 judges (per million).
The present strength of judges in the country stood at 14 per million populations. The judge strength of the high courts is reviewed every three years and the last triennial review was held in 2006.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court with a sanctioned strength of 49 judges is operating with a working strength of 30 judges. Similarly, the Bombay High Court is running with 66 judges, nine short of the approved strength.
The Calcutta High Court has a deficiency of 17 judges, whereas its approved strength is 58.
The Sikkim High Court is perhaps the only one where there is no shortfall of judges. It has three judges.