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Shortage of judges frightening: Anand Sharma

New Delhi: Terming the shortage of judges in higher courts as a “frightening situation”, head of the Parliamentary Committee on Law today said it may lead to a situation where the access to justice is denied.

His remarks came after the Supreme Court earlier in the day rapped the Union government for delaying appointment of judges to the 24 high courts.

“The position is unacceptable. The situation is causing concern…it is frightening,” senior Congress leader and panel chairman Anand Sharma said here.

He said the shortage could lead to a situation where access to justice is denied.

Sharma said the committee was concerned over the issue of vacancies in higher judiciary and therefore the matter was taken up as the first subject. “The government is answerable to Parliament,” he said.

The panel has so far held four meetings on the issue and another one is slated for November 2.

While the focus is on shortage of judges in the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the situation in the subordinate courts, considered the backbone of justice delivery system, is even worse.

Latest data show there is a shortage of 5,111 judicial officers who run subordinate courts across the country.

The 24 high courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges.

Nearly three crore cases are pending in courts across India.