Legal Articles

“BACK-LOG AND HUGE PENDENCY OF CASES BEFORE THE INDIAN COURTS: CRITICAL ANALYSIS”

Indian Constitution provides hierarchy of courts beginning from sub-ordinate courts in the Districts up to Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. Together these courts constitute the third pillar “Judiciary” in the Constitution engaged in dispensation of justice to the common public in the country. The most valuable fundamental right of the citizens in the country is to seek and get justice from the courts within reasonable and short period of time. But the back-log and pendency of huge number of cases (about 3.3 crore case) in the courts demonstrate that it is still a long way to go. There have been efforts made to reduce and cut-short the back-log by introducing fast-track courts, lok-adalats and others effective measures but the size of the problem is mammoth and the problem needs to be resolved by introducing extra-ordinary measures.

Firstly, we understand about the existing infrastructure of Judiciary in the country of 130 crore population.

Records (2018-19) reveal that there are 672 District Courts in the country (total sanctioned strength 22677 Judges/present working strength 17542 judges/current vacancies 5135 Judges), 25 High Courts (total sanctioned strength 1079 Judges/present working strength 680 Judges/current vacancies of 399 Judges) and Supreme Court of India (total sanctioned strength 31 Judges/present working strength 27 judges/ current vacancies 04 Judges).

The study and figures further also reveal that the judge-population ratio at present is about 18 judges per one million (10 lakhs) population i.e. one judge for population of 55,555 people. This ratio is very low in comparison to other developed countries where the ratio is about 50 judges for every one million of population.

How to bring break-through is the biggest challenge. Besides increasing the infrastructure of courts, appointment of judges and introduction of effective laws and procedures is one major way. The lawyers being the integral part of the judicial system, it is very important that they play their role and contribute in the reduction of back-log of cases in a very significant manner. The lawyers population, as per 2016 survey, stands at about 1.3 million (13 lakhs) i.e. one lawyer for every 10 people. But the problem remains on account of lack of sufficient training and experience and competence amongst the lawyers as a whole.
Except for a very small number of lawyers practising in the metropolitan cities, it is observed that lawyers practising in small districts are not well equipped with knowledge and training. Besides improving the infrastructure it is also important to enhance the standards of legal education in the country in order to bring in the bright legal professionals who are fully sincere and devoted to the cause of the profession and dispensation of justice. The problem of back-log can be addressed only by two-pronged strategy of improving the infrastructure of courts and appointment of judges and also improving the quality and skills amongst the lawyers in the country at large. The procedures laid down in the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 and also in Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 need to be implemented strictly and zero tolerance for adjournments in the cases during trial.

Rahul Gupta,
Advocate (D-450/89),
Delhi High Court

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