As per recent data presented by the government in Rajya Sabha pending cases across various courts are nearing the staggering figure of Five Crore, significantly not only an administrative challenge but also a looming threat to ensure of timely justice.
District and subordinate courts: over 4.32 crore cases are pending as of December 31, 2022
Supreme court: 69511 cases are pending as of February 1, 2023
High courts: backlog of more than 59 lakh cases across the 25 High courts of the country.
A noteworthy mention is Allahabad High Court with 10.30 lakh cases, the highest among courts, while Sikkim High Court has least 171 cases.
Overall scenario: the total pendency across the judiciary is 4.92 crore cases.
Factors contributing to the high pendency of the cases:
- Infrastructure and Manpower limitation: with only 21 judges per million population the judicial infrastructure is not commensurate with the rising population.
- Complex judicial procedure: there are extended trials and frequent adjournment of the cases
- Judicial vacancies: with numerous positions remaining unfilled across various tiers of the judiciary. The burden on existing officials is many folds.
- Inefficient case management: there is lack of structured approach to handle cases based on their urgency and nature.
- Frivolous litigation: many a time system is clogged with baseless cases which could have been avoided with more stringent filtering measures.
- Lack of technological adaptation: a slow pace in embracing digital methods for case management and documentation has caused inefficiencies.
- Multitiered review system: the architecture of Indian Judicial system allowed multiple reviews which lead to repetitive evaluations thus increasing pendency.
1 Strengthen Judicial infrastructure
- Speedy recruitment
- To promote alternate dispute resolution (ADR)
- Effective case management
- Technological integration like on line case record, video conferencing, AI-powered predictive analysis