As challenges go, the justice system in India is up against it — staring at more than 31.3 million pending cases.
Incidentally, around 25% of cases in all courts are pending for five years or more; 70% are pending for less than five years; and the rest are instituted every year.
Parliament data state that increasing number of legislations, accumulation of first appeals, adjournments and lack of logistics are the causes for more than 30 million cases pending.
We can see a correlation between vacancy of judges and pending number of cases in Allahabad and Calcutta high courts.
The Allahabad high court has the highest number of vacancies as well as the highest number of pending cases.
The Parliament recently passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill that gives it power to regulate judicial appointments.
At present, the judge strength is around 14 to 16 for a million citizens. Ideally, as per the Supreme Court, it should be around 50 per million.
Developed regions like Europe have more than 150 judges per million, while the United States has nearly 100 judges for the same number.
A possible way out could be the creation of more Lok Adalats. Between 2001 and 2012, a total of 104,728 Lok Adalats were conducted all across India and they disposed of more than 2.4 million cases.
The National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms was established in June 2011 with the primary aim of reducing delays. The Centre committed Rs 5,510 crore for the mission from 2011-2016.
Efforts are on to tackle the challenge, but the piled up numbers suggest much more needs to be done, and fast.
Ideation and written by : Sourjya Bhowmick
Research : Shreya Chatterjee
Visualization : Vignesh Radhakrishnan
Source: Supreme court and Parliamentary Q and A