NEW DELHI (REUTERS) – Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was sworn in Saturday (Aug 27) as India’s Chief Justice for the Supreme Court, though he is only set to hold the post for 74 days before his retirement falls due in November.
Under India’s Constitution, Supreme Court justices are required to retire aged 65 years. The chief justice is appointed by the president according to seniority.
Earlier this month, Justice Lalit’s predecessor, Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, said 65 “was too early to retire” for a judge.
An estimated 45 million cases are pending in Indian courts, according to the National Judicial Data Grid.
The slow disposal is mainly due to a shortage of judges, with some 5,000 positions lying vacant in the lower judiciary, and 400 vacant positions for high court judges.
The Supreme Court currently has around 30 judges, and there are four vacancies.