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Judicial Vacancies And Pendency Of Cases


Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana said lack of proper infrastructure and judicial vacancies had adversely impacted the mechanism involved in the fast disposal of cases.

  • Out of 1,100 judges in various high courts in the country, there are about 400 to 500 posts vacant all the time.


GS II- Executive and Judiciary

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Causes for Pendency of cases
  2. Impacts of Pendency of cases
  3. Way Forward

Causes for Pendency of cases

  • An increase in the number of cases: Increases in literacy, population expansion, and the development of citizen-friendly instruments such as PIL have resulted in a massive surge of cases in the courts.
  • Increasing Vacancies: The courts are operating at a fraction of their authorised capacity. Out of a sanctioned strength of 1,079 judges, the High Courts had 403 vacancies as of 2017. However, there has been no progress in filling vacancies. Subordinate courts, meanwhile, have 5,676 vacancies out of a total of 22,704 judges. The increase in vacancies is due to the delay in appointments.
  • Strict Procedural Requirements: Each case requires a significant amount of documentation, which can cause unnecessary delays.
  • Lawyers’ Bad Behavior: Lawyers have been caught engaging in collusive corruption, particularly at lower levels, in order to stretch the case out. Furthermore, the lawyers demand multiple adjournments for illegitimate grounds.
  • Police Personnel Inefficiencies: They are sometimes perceived as complacent in submitting charge sheets and completing quick investigations, causing a delay in delivering timely judgement.
  • Law schools are more concerned with developing attorneys than with developing future members of the judiciary.

Impacts of Pendency of cases

  • Rising pendency creates an excess burden on judges.
  • Pendency enhances the number of undertrials in the prisons which eventually leads to overcrowding.
  • It undermines Right to life
  • The pendency causes harassment of the accused and victim. As they need to go through significant financial, physical and mental stress for years due to the pendency.
  • The faith and trust of the common man in the judicial setup are also lost if he/she didn’t receive timely justice.
  • The disposal rate(number of cases disposed of) has stayed between 55 -59% in the Supreme Court, 28% in the High Courts, and 40% in the subordinate courts.

Way Forward

  • Time limitations for pendency should be mandated for all cases based on priorities; hence, time standards must be established, and they will vary for different cases, as well as for different courts, depending on their disposal capability.
  • For out-of-court agreements, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques should be pushed.

-Source: The Hindu


March 2024