Pendency of Court Cases in India

2019 ias preliminary exam test series

The problem of pendency of court cases has been a topic of discussion for a while now, but came to the forefront recently when the Chief Justice claimed that the country needs 70,000 judges to handle the burden.

As of 01.01.2016 India had a total of 31,035,237 cases pending at all levels of the three-tiered judiciary.

The vast majority of the cases, over 27 million, are pending in the lowest rung, that is, the trial courts.

Around 3.5 million are pending in the middle rung of the Indian judiciary, the High Courts. Both these levels suffer from high levels of vacancies – about 21.82 per cent of the 20,620 sanctioned posts of trial court judges and 41.26 per cent of the 1,018 sanctioned posts of High Court judges lie vacant.

When seen with the fact that there are a total of 31 million cases pending in the Indian judiciary system, there seems to be an easy correlation between vacancies and pendency, and seemingly the former leading to the latter. That, however, is not the full or even the correct picture.

The 31 million cases pending in the Indian judicial system must be seen in the context of the fact that nearly 20 million cases are filed every year. Yet, in 2015 alone, approximately 20 million cases were disposed. Even at present strength, it is obvious that the Indian judiciary is able to ensure that the incoming load of cases does not add significantly to the pendency.

The obstacle rather is that the judicial system has been unable to make progress in ensuring that the existing pendency of cases is resolved quickly. The true nature of the problem therefore lies elsewhere.

Current Affairs for IAS Exam