Pendency in lower courts is the problem

The court has taken some initiatives this year to improve its functioning in terms of case disposal.
Last Updated : 28 December 2023, 20:22 IST

Follow Us :


The Supreme Court has done well to improve the rate of disposal of cases by clearing 52,191 cases till December 15 this year, which marks an increase of 33 per cent over the 39,800 cases which were decided in 2022.

According to an official report, the disposal is the highest since the Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) was implemented in the year 2017.

The court has taken some initiatives this year to improve its functioning in terms of case disposal.

The pendency of cases before five-judge constitution benches has been reduced from 36 to 19. But there are important cases pending before seven-judge and nine-judge benches.

While judgements were delivered in some important cases like the one about Article 370, they are expected in other cases like those pertaining to electoral bonds and the right of young women to enter the Sabarimala shrine. 

The court has used technology to quicken the pace of case disposal. Reforms like the reduction of the time frame for verification and listing of cases from 10 days to seven have helped in speedy disposal of cases.

Matters such as bail, habeas corpus, eviction and demolition, which have bearing on personal liberty, were processed in one day and listed immediately. Such proceedings were also taken up during the summer vacation. Formation of specialised benches to handle particular types of cases helped to streamline the process.

Other steps included the setting up of a hybrid hearing system and an RTI portal and the e-SCR (Supreme Court Reports), which gives online access to judgements. The linkage of the court with the National Judicial Data Grid has helped the tracking of cases on a real-time basis.

While these measures are laudable, the overall pendency of cases in the judicial system has only increased.

The total number of cases waiting for disposal has crossed five crore, according to information provided in parliament.

The problem is acute in High Courts and the district and subordinate courts where the pending cases, as of July this year, were over six lakh and 4.4 crore respectively.

It is the cases in the lower courts, more than those in the Supreme Court, that concern common people on an everyday basis.

The main reasons for such high pendency are the shortage of judges and staff and the inadequacy of infrastructure, procedural problems, frequent adjournments, etc. Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has said that “the disposal of pending cases in courts is within the domain of the judiciary and the government has no direct role in it”. But the government’s support is vital in creating conditions for speedy delivery of justice.

It should make timely appointment of enough number of judges, provide infrastructure, and perhaps reduce its own litigation in courts. 

Published 28 December 2023, 20:22 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us