SC attains full strength as case log nears 80000
- November 10, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
SC attains full strength as case log nears 80000
Subject : Polity
- The Supreme Court welcomed three new judges on Thursday, taking the judicial strength to its sanctioned capacity of 34, even as the pendency clock on the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) dashboard threatens to hit a high of 80,000 cases in the next 24 hours.
- The original Constitution of 1950 envisaged a Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and 7 puisne Judges – leaving it to Parliament to increase this number. In the early years, all the Judges of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the cases presented before them.
- The sanctioned judge strength of the Supreme Court is 34 (including Chief Justice of India).
- The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act 1956, as originally enacted, provided for the maximum number of Judges(excluding the Chief Justice of India) to be 10. This number was increased to 13 by the Supreme Court (Number of Judges), Amendment Act, 1960, and to 17 by the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 1977. The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 1986 augmented the strength of the Supreme Court Judges from 17 to 25 excluding the Chief Justice of India. Subsequently, the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2009 further augmented the strength of the Supreme Court Judges,from 25 to 30.
What are the reasons for the high pendency of cases in the Indian Judiciary?
- Shortage of judges: There is a shortage of judges in the Indian judiciary. This leads to delays in the resolution of cases, as there is a backlog of cases waiting to be heard.
- Lack of infrastructure: Many courts in India lack the necessary infrastructure and resources to deal with the many cases that are filed. This can contribute to delays in the resolution of cases.
- Complexity of cases: Some cases are complex and require a lot of time and resources to be resolved. This can contribute to delays in the resolution of cases.
- Procedural delays: There are often delays in the legal process due to procedural issues, such as the inability to locate witnesses or delays in obtaining evidence.
- Weak enforcement of court orders: In some cases, court orders are not enforced, which can lead to further delays in the resolution of cases.
- Increased legal awareness: Increased legal awareness has increased the number of cases filed. Further, new mechanisms like Public Interest Litigation (PIL) have also resulted in more cases being filed.
What steps have been taken to reduce the pendency of cases?
- Virtual court system: In the virtual court system, regular court proceedings are conducted virtually through videoconferencing. It ensures easy access to justice and reduces the pendency of cases.
- e-Courts portal: It has been launched to improve access to justice using technology. It is a comprehensive platform for all stakeholders, such as litigants, advocates, government agencies, police, and citizens.
- E-filing: The facility of submitting court cases electronically through the internet, providing benefits such as saving time and money, not requiring physical presence in court, automatic digitization of case files, and reducing paper consumption.
- e-Payment of court fees and fines: The ability to make online payments for court fees and fines, reducing the need for cash, stamps, and cheques, and integrating with state-specific vendors for convenience.
- Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS): ICJS is an initiative of the e-Committee, Supreme Court to enable the seamless transfer of data and information among different pillars of the criminal justice system, like courts, police, jails, and forensic science laboratories, from one platform.
- Fast track courts : Fast track courts are being set up by the government to expedite the justice delivery and reduce the pendency of cases.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: ADR mechanisms like Lok Adalats, Gram Nyayalayas, Online Dispute Resolution, etc., ensure timely justice.
What steps could further help reduce the judicial pendency in India?
- Increase the number of judges: One way to reduce the backlog of cases is to increase the number of judges in the Indian judiciary. This will allow more cases to be heard and decided more quickly.
- The Law Commission of India (1987) recommended increasing the number of judges to 50 per million people. This was reiterated by the Supreme Court (2001) and the Standing Committee on Home Affairs (2002).
- Expand alternative dispute resolution methods: Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, can resolve disputes more quickly and efficiently than traditional court proceedings.
- Streamline the legal process: Efforts can be made to streamline the legal process, such as by using technology to manage cases and eliminate unnecessary steps. Example: e-courts projects.
- Strengthen the enforcement of court orders: Ensuring that court orders are enforced can help to reduce the backlog of cases, as individuals and institutions will be more likely to comply with court orders if they know that they will be held accountable for failing to do so.