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Pendency In The Indian Judiciary: Causes and Consequences

Relevance: GS Paper 2; Indian Polity; Judiciary


The judiciary system in India plays a vital role in ensuring justice and fairness in the country. However, the system has been grappling with the problem of pendency for a long time

What is Pendency in the Judiciary System?

  • Pendency refers to the large number of cases that are pending in courts
  • According to the National Court Management System, as of 2020, there were about 4 crore cases pending in Indian courts
  • It can be both civil and criminal cases
  • Pendency leads to delays in the resolution of cases and can cause frustration for litigants

Causes of Pendency

  • One of the main reasons for pendency is the shortage of judges
  • As of 2021, there were only 22 judges per 10 lakh people in India, as compared to the recommended strength of 50 judges per 10 lakh people
  • The workload of judges is also very high, leading to delays in the disposal of cases
  • Lack of infrastructure and resources in courts also contributes to the problem

Impact of Pendency on the Judiciary System

  • Pendency impacts the credibility and efficiency of the judiciary system
  • It leads to a lack of faith in the system and can discourage people from seeking justice
  • It also puts a lot of pressure on the existing judges and can lead to burnout

Steps Taken by the Government to Address Pendency

  • The government has taken several steps to address the problem of pendency in the judiciary system
  • It has appointed more judges and set up alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to expedite the process
  • The use of technology has also helped to reduce the burden on the courts
  • For example, the e-Courts project aims to digitize the functioning of courts and make the process more efficient

Recent Developments in Addressing Pendency

  • In 2021, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde called for the implementation of the National Court Management System (NCMS) to address pendency in the judiciary
  • The NCMS aims to streamline the functioning of courts and reduce the workload of judges
  • The Law Ministry has also announced plans to set up a National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) to track pending cases and improve the efficiency of the system


Pendency in the judiciary system is a major issue that needs to be addressed

The government needs to take more proactive measures to improve the efficiency of the system and ensure that justice is delivered in a timely manner.

Practice Question: Describe the role and importance of the judiciary system in India, and discuss the problem of pendency in the system and the steps taken by the government to address it.

December 2023