20th Oct 2021
BY:- SATABDI GUPTA, 3RD YEAR, B.A.LLB, KIIT SCHOOL OF LAW, BHUBANESWAR
This article based on the types of problem faced by the Indian judicial system due to increased pendency of cases. Litigation pendency is one of the biggest drawback of our Indian legal system. This article also outlined various causes for the increased pendency of cases in India. Some of them are- lack of judges and appointment, truancy of judges, lack of infrastructure, misuse of process of law etc. due to this reasons the pendency of cases of day by day, and creating lot of burden on the courts of India. This pendency of cases act as an evil to our Indian legal system because this not only effect the single party who is not getting justice o time but it also effect the opposite party who can be proven as not guilty of the offence for which he has been tried for so long. Sometimes due this, the justice is not deliver to the right person and the person who was fighting for his/her right suffers a lot. After seeing this condition of our judiciary there are many people who doesn’t support the justice delivery system and do not prefer to go to court to file their cases. Thus, there is requirement for the government to take certain steps to improve the condition of our Indian Judiciary to overcome this situation of increased pendency of cases in India.
KEYWORDS:- Courts, Delivery, India, Judiciary, Judges, Legal, Litigation, Pendency.
Delay in providing Justice has become a very big issue in a developing country like India. Providing justice has a much wider implication than settling disputes between the two parties or determining whether the person is guilty or not. There is a very famous maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied” which means that if a legal remedy is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming promptly, it is effectively the same as having no remedy at all. This maxim is meant to provide right to have speedy trial and to avoid delay in providing justice and reducing pendency of cases in India. There are more than 3 million cases in India, which are pending at district courts. More than 86.6 lakh and 2.17 crore civil and criminal cases respectively are pending in courts. If we take the estimation year wise then we can see that, every year more than 80 lakh cases are pending, every five years more than 45 lakh cases are pending and every ten years more than 25 lakh cases are pending in Indian courts. This shows the failure of whole judicial system of our country.
Pending of cases not only effect one party but also it effect both the both the parties in equal manner. Because the party who is about to get justice is not getting it within time and sometime this delay also effect in getting justice. On the other hand, the other party is also suffering because it is taking too long time to proof himself right and not guilty. After seeing this condition of our legal system many people do not come forward to file their own cases. Thus, we can say that pending of cases not only effect the parties but it also effect the society as a whole. There are large number of criminal cases, which are still pending in several courts of India and causes alarming situation. Moreover, there are two main reason behind this- first is that access to justice is denied to many victims of crime and secondly there are many under-trial prisoners who are kept in jail even after the prescribed time is over because the case for which he was detained was still going on in the courts and the judgement was not passed yet. This however effects them both physically as well as mentally.
CAUSES FOR LITIGATION PENDENCY IN INDIA
Pending of cases in India is rising day by day this indicates that Indian Judiciary is lacking behind in proving justice within time, which is a great failure of our complete legal system. There are several reasons that can be pointed out, for the increase number of pending cases in India.
LOW JUDGE STRENGTH AND APPOINTMENT:- One of the important reason for the increased pendency of cases is due to the low strength of the judges in Indian courts. There are almost 1080 approved strength of judges present in our Indian High Courts out of which only 680 is the working strength, which means around 400 seats are still vacant. If for instance we take the example of Allahabad High Court, here the approved strength of Judges is 160, out of which only 107 is working strength and the reaming 53 seats are still vacant. Likewise there are several other High Courts were the working strength of judges is less than the approved strength.
In the present situation, India has 19 judges per 10 lakh people. According to the estimation of the national judicial data grid, the approved strength of judges of subordinate courts of India is 22,474 judges, out of which only 16,726 is the working strength, which means around 5748 seats of judges of subordinate courts are still vacant in India.
Therefore, we can say that the strength of the judges is really very less in India and due to which it creates burden on other working judges to handle so many cases together, so there is an increase in pendency of cases, which causes delay in proving justice. The former law minister of India, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad has rightly pointed out that “one of the underlying reasons behind the high pendency of cases is sometimes the in oriented delay in filling up the vacancies of the judicial offices”. 
TRAUNCY OF JUDGES:- The next important point which can be pointed out is the truancy of judges or we can say absenteeism of judges. Every judge before being a judge is a human being, they also have their own family to spend time during holidays. For that, the judiciary is providing them vacations to spend time with their families. However, some judges use to remain in holidays even after the vacations are over. Moreover, when the judges are absent from the court without giving prior information regarding his absenteeism, the cases which were to about on that day got delayed and simultaneously it causes delay in providing justice.
In the present judiciary, there are few judges, who work as a judge only for its high salary. They are very inactive to their work and remains in holidays without any justifiable reason. Due to which the cases of those days get adjourned and it get extended to some other day. Thus, we can say that it is the core reason for the delay in providing justice and increased pendency of cases in India.
LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE:- One of the root cause for the increased pendency of cases in India is due to lack of suitable infrastructure. Our former Chief Justice of India, Mr. Dipak Misra, in one of his interview said that the main cause of pendency of cases is due to insufficient infrastructure for the judges, litigants and court staffs etc. In lower courts, there is lack of primary prerequisite such as library for advocates, sitting facilities for advocates, computers, software, internet facility and so on.
MISUSE OF PROCESS OF LAW:- The another most important cause for the litigation pendency is the misuse of process of law. In criminal cases before the judgement is passed, a very long procedure is followed. The case trials begin after the charges framed against the accused, then evidence is produced before the court by the prosecution, then the defendant side produce there evidences, then comes the examination of witness by the prosecution and cross examination by the defendant, then the argument starts. After all of this procedure the Judge gives judgement. And it almost takes minimum of 5 years to accomplish this whole procedure, sometimes it also 10 years to complete.
In between the trials many summons were issued some for producing any kind of document and some for the witness appearance, the advocates also takes adjournment in between the trial for some reasons, and somehow this causes delay in delivering its judgment. Even there are cases in India, which are running for more than 30 years.
INCREASED NUMBER OF APPEAL IN A CASES:- After the Judgement is delivered by the Subordinate court. The party who losses the case have the right to appeal to the court. Moreover, this right was given to them to keep a check on the justice and to satisfy the losing party but the litigants use this right to earn money out of this. For that, they use to make appeal in every decided cases, which is not the right thing. Because this right was made for those cases where there is a doubt that whether the justice was delivered to the right person or not. Nevertheless, as the litigants use it in another way, it creates lot of burden on the respective High Courts and due to which the pendency of cases is increasing day by day.
In High Courts, cases are pending around 49 lakh. Among this 49 lakh cases, 24 lakh cases are of civil appeals and 13 lakh cases are of criminal appeals and remaining 12 lakh cases are write petitions. Therefore, we can say that the increased number of appeals in respective High Courts is also a key aspect for the increased pendency of Cases and delay in delivery of Justice in India.
REGISTRATION OF FALSE CASES:- The registration of false cases is a root cause for the increased pendency of cases in India. There are many such cases both in criminal as well as civil were the individuals register false cases just to harass the opposite party. Around 80% of false rape cases registered in India, it becomes very difficult for the men to prove himself right, and for that, it took very long time to do. Not only rape cases but there are many false domestic violence cases registered in India. Overall, if we see this type of cases cerates more burden on the courts. Moreover, due to this problem the cases, which are actually valid, take too long time to solve.
PENDENCY OF CASES AS AN EVIL TO OUR INDIAN LEGAL SYSTEM
Pendency of cases is a biggest drawback of our Indian legal system. It not only effect the parties who were involved in some cases or fighting for their rights, but it also effect the society as a whole. The impact of it falls in the complete judicial system of India. Due to this pendency of cases, there are people who do not even come to file their cases with a fear that if they will file their case then it may take very long time to get justice and the opposite party will not get there punishment within time and live a free life. This pendency of cases also effect the accused party who is said to be commit any cognizable offence, because due to this time extension they had remain in police custody for the crime which he might had not committed. In addition, sometimes the accused remain in police custody even after the limited time. Sometimes there are some accuse who remain in jail even after he had not committed the crime for which the trial is going on against him. In a recent judgement of Allahabad High Court, a 43-year-old man Vishnu Tiwari, who remained in Jail for 20 years, alleged to have committed rape. However, after 20 years when the judgement delivered it has been proofed that he was not guilty of the offence for which he has been tried for so long. This shows us the failure of our Indian legal system. Moreover, due to this pendency of cases, he has to remain in custody for the offence, which he had not committed. Likewise, there are many more accused who were suffering due to litigation pendency. The victims of the crime also suffer several loses due to pendency of cases. In a very famous case of Nirbhaya, there were 4 accused who were held liable for committing gang rape on a girl. But the judges took very long time to give its decision to punish those accused with death penalty. This delay caused due to various mercy petitions, which were filed by the defence lawyer. And it took almost 7-8 years to pass its final judgement.
India is still a developing country here around 800 million person belong to a poor family. So we can very well point out that due to poor economic condition many people in India were not able to afford a good lawyer and they don’t even have the money to pay expenses to the lawyers who were fighting there case. And due to this reason there cases don’t proceed further and remain pending in the respective courts. Thus, we can say that it is also a very big issue for increased pendency of cases in India.
During this pandemic period of Corona Virus in India, the pending of cases has increased to its high level. The pending cases of Supreme Court has raised to 3.6%, in High Courts it has increased from 12.4% to 51.5 lakh. In District Court and Subordinate Courts the cases has raised 6.6%. The Covid-19 pandemic had moved the court hearings from physical mode to virtual mode. Moreover, due to this, many cases are pending and peoples are not getting justice within time and many poor peoples are not able to attain the court proceedings due to lack of perquisites.
The registration of false cases is a root cause for the increased pendency of cases in India and thus it is an evil towards our Indian legal system. Due to increased registration of false cases the cases which are valid took very long time to solve and due to which justice is not delivered on time, because they does not get time to solve their case because of increased pressure on the courts. And due to this registration of false, the opposite party of the case get hampered, they loss there reputation in the society and sometimes it also leads to lose their jobs. Cases like Domestic Violence, Rape, Molestation, Sexual harassment, Cheating, Theft are very sensitive cases and even if after proving themselves right in front of the court, the society does not accepts them. Moreover, it spoils there whole life.
VARIOUS IMPLICATIONS TO REDUCE LITIGATION PENDENCY IN INDIA
Every year there is an average increase of 2.5% of pendency of cases in India due to several reasons mentioned above. Moreover, to get rid of it there are several steps, which need to be implemented to reduce pendency of cases in India. These are as follows:-
- The government should take up the initiative to fill up vacant seats of judges of the High Courts and Subordinate Courts of India. Through this, the burden on the existing judges would reduce and the court will firmly function its duty.
- Due to lengthy process of law, it takes very long time to deliver the judgement or decree of the cases, and justice not delivered on time. Therefore, the Supreme Court should pass certain guidelines to dispose of the cases faster.
- Whenever a judgement or decree given in lower courts in favour of one party, the opposite party always seeks to file an appeal in concerned High courts. Due to which there are several appeals pending in High Courts of India. Thus, there is requirement for the courts to determine the reasonable ground of appeal and only those cases be allowed and others should be disposed of.
- Alternative remedies like Alternative Dispute Resolution, Lok Adalats, Plea Bargaining etc. should be encouraged for disposing of cases so that it reduce unnecessary delay in providing justice which are actually needed to be heard by the courts.
- There are several false cases, which are register in courts in daily basis. This is one of the central cause for the increased pendency of cases in India. Thus, it is required to keep a strong check and examine the evidences very carefully while filling any cases.
- During this pandemic period of Covid-19, the pending of cases has reached at its high level, due to closing down of courts. However, virtual mode of conducting case procedure is the only way to carry forward with the cases. Thus, government is require to take initiative to provide proper Internet facility, computerization etc. to the lawyers and Judges. Along with that, it is also require to provide some kind of facilities to the peoples who were unable to join their case proceeding due to lack of requisite facilities.
Lastly, it concluded that, litigations pendency is very big drawback of the Indian legal system. It is pulling back the judiciary from its duties. It shows that our judiciary is lagging behind from justice delivery system on time. The government of India have to come forward and take certain steps for coming out of this situation. Not only government but also each and every person who is indulge or connect to the process of law should come forward and tackle this situation. Some changes are need to be made in the judicial system. Encouragement of speedy trial is very much required. It is required to dispose of the cases as fast as it is possible. Now a day’s people are developing and they know their rights so whenever they find anything is wrong happening with them or in the society, they are moving to the courts and due to which rate of pending of cases of increasing. Thus, it is creating burden on the courts. And to handle this situation the courts had to work smartly. Because “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”.
- Krishnanand Tripathi, Justice Delayed- Pending cases weigh down India’s justice delivery system, (May 14, 2019), https://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/delayed-justice-pendency-of-court-cases-how-indian-courts-are-clogged-with-pending-cases/1578031/
- Diganth Raj Sehgal, Justice delayed is justice denied- how can we deal with the inefficiency of courts in a fast-changing society, (March 12, 2021), https://blog.ipleaders.in/justice-delayed-justice-denied-can-deal-inefficiency-courts-fast-changing-society/
- Sandeepdangi, Causes for Litigation Pendency in India, https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1188-causes-for-litigation-pendency-in-india.html
 Justice delayed is justice denied, https://blog.ipleaders.in/justice-delayed-justice-denied-can-deal-inefficiency-courts-fast-changing-society/
 Causes for Litigation Pendency In India, http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1188-causes-for-litigation-pendency-in-india.html
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