What’s in the news?
- The India Justice Report (IJR) 2022 noted that Indian courts are jammed with cases and are seeing pendency increase by the day. At the same time, they are also functioning with fewer judges than the sanctioned number.
- IJR is a collaborative effort undertaken in partnership with DAKSH, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Common Cause, Centre for Social Justice, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and TISS-Prayas.
- As of December 2022, against a sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges, the High Courts were functioning with only 778 judges. The subordinate courts were found functioning with 19,288 judges against a sanctioned strength of 24,631 judges.
- Correspondingly, the number of cases pending per judge is rising in most States over the last five years while the sanctioned strength has remained more or less the same.
- The number of cases a judge has to deal with has also steadily increased. Between 2018 and 2022, the caseload per judge increased in 22 States and Union Territories.
- Nationally, the number of court halls appears sufficient for the number of actual judges, IJR said, however, it added that space will become a problem if all the sanctioned posts are filled.
- In August 2022, there were 21,014 court halls for the 24,631 judges’ posts sanctioned at the time — a shortfall of 14.7%, the report said.