The Supreme Court collegium will take a call on appointing 40 new judges to nine courts, a senior functionary said even as 106 judges have been appointed to the constitutional courts this year.
The law ministry has forwarded recommendations from nine high courts to appoint 40 judges to the Supreme Court collegium.
The high courts from where the recommendations have been received include Karnataka, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madras and Tripura, the functionary said.
According to law ministry data, as on September 1, while the approved strength of judges in the 24 high courts was 1,079, there were 413 vacancies and these high courts were functioning with an effective working strength of 666 judges.
As per procedure, the three-member high court collegium recommends a name to the Supreme Court collegium. The recommendation is initially sent to the Law Ministry, which attaches an IB report about the candidate's record and forwards it to the SC collegium for a final call.
The collegium had recently said that the judiciary and not the IB, is a better judge of who should be part of the judiciary.
Commenting on the appointment of judges, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said 126 judges were appointed in 2016 which is a record since 1989.
He said on an average 82 judges were appointed annually.
"As of now, 106 judges have been appointed in 2017. By December 31, we will surpass the 126 figure," Prasad said on Thursday at an event attended by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.