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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.