delayed is justice denied“- goes the famous adage.
Statistics & Magnitude:
Number of Backlogs
3.20 crore cases are pending before various courts.
60,000 cases in Supreme Court
Number of Judges in India are low
Present – 17 judges per 1 million population
Required – Atleast 50 judges per 10 lakh (according to recommendations of Law Commission)
In contrast, US has 151 and China has 170 judges for a million population.
Causes of huge backlog of cases
Number of the judges is very low , given the size of our democracy. There were only 17 judges to a 10 Lakh population when there should be at least 50 judges per 10 lakh.
Even sanctioned posts are vacant.
All India vacancy = 26 %
Bihar = 45% sanctioned posts vacant (highest)
Low budgetary allocation leading to poor infrastructure- India spends only about 0.09% of its GDP
Tendency to take appeals till Supreme Court
Increase in PILs & Special Leave Petitions
Malpractices by lawyers
Government & its departments act as Compulsive litigant => in 46% cases, government is Litigant
Redundant Case Management System (CMS): There is large amount of paperwork , rigid rules , archaic practices
Complexity in Indian law with overlapping provisions in different Acts. In September 2014, government setup Ramanujam Committee to identify central government statutes ready for repeal. It identified 1,741 such old statutes
Police lacks training for scientific collection of evidences
Lack of infrastructure : such as inadequate support staff for judges and dearth of basic courtroom facilities.
Impact of backlog of cases
Fundamental Rights like Equal Protection of Law and Right to life (of under-trials) impinged
Erosion of the rule of law
A market-based capitalist system can operate efficiently only if judicial processes ensure a fair enforcement of contracts.
Huge NPAs as commercial litigations not solved
Low foreign investment as investors are doubtful about timely justice
245th Law Commission
Report on “Arrears and Backlogs: Creating Additional Judicial
manpower” has recommended various measures increasing judges , Alternate
Dispute Resolution methods
Constituting an All India Judicial Service to provide more number of
highly competent judges
Using Alternate Dispute Redressal Mechanisms like Lok Adalats, Tribunals
for dispute settlement.
Improving the Courts Case Management System . Initiatives like the Crown Court Management Services of the UK may be considered.
Simplification and repealing
of outdated laws.
Judicial Impact Assessment should be introduced while
introducing a legislation.
Government is the biggest litigant in India. It should take steps at –
setting up institutional measures for arbitration and dispute
Setting up more courts in areas having more
case-load as ordered
by Supreme Court in Imtiayaz Ahmad vs State of Uttar
of evening and morning courts to deal with petty matter like traffic
Promoting research and
studies on judicial reforms.