According to the Supreme Court of India, ideally, India, on average, needs 50 judges for every million population. This static is also essential because, as of the present time, there are only about 14 judges in every million population. There are about 25000 judges, meaning there is a vacancy of 5000 judges in India. Keeping this point in view, the Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachund, in an interview with Indian Express, talked about the unfilled posts in the judiciary. As per the data, it is estimated that the judicial strength increased by 20% can resolve the pendency in Indian Courts.
In this article, we will be discussing how case pendency affects the rights of an ordinary citizen and how justice gets denied. We will also focus on the category of citizens directly or indirectly prey to case pendency.
Case Pendency in India
Case pendency in India is a vital issue that needs to get addressed urgently. Every year the pendency of cases increases. According to the collected data between 2010 and 2020, case pendency in India has increased by 2.8% every year. Until 2 August 2022, there are over 71,411 pending cases in the Supreme Court of India, out of which 15,077 cases are criminal.
The main aim of the Indian Constitution is to provide Indian citizens equal rights regardless of their status in society. Everyone is equal before the law is the motto of the Constitution. However, many Indian citizens are unable to make their reach to the law. They give their whole life to get justice. Many of them even face injustice during the process.
How Judicial Strength Increased by 20% Can Resolve the Pendency in Indian Courts
The Minister of Law and Justice of India, Kiran Rijiju, has also spoken on the case pendency issue while answering a question in Rajya Sabha. More than four crores and 80 lakhs cases are pending in our country. Seeing this, it becomes vital to discover why and how things are going so wrong.
According to National Justice Data Grid NJDG, more than four and a half crores of cases are pending in the lower court. Half of the cases belong to the lower courts of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Bihar, of which 25 percent of cases are registered more than five years ago. The issue can only be resolved if more judges get appointed in lower and higher courts, which means that increased judicial strength by 20% can resolve the pendency.
The image is taken from The Indian Express
Four thousand five hundred cases are pending in every lakh population, and half of these cases are more than five years long. The condition is alarming in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, and West Bengal, where only one judge is available for every 80 lakhs of the population.
The situation worsens when we learn that out of every four people in jail, three are still waiting for their cases to get resolved. Many of them have not done anything wrong and are still spending their life in jail. These people are in prison just for the sake of complaint, and many have spent more time than their actual punishment period. This sort of bizarre thing directly violates the fundamental rights given to every citizen.
How Rights Are Being Denied
Many articles of our constitution, including fundamental rights, promise every person timely justice. In case any fundamental rights get denied or violated, the person can knock on the doors of the Supreme Court. But what to do when Supreme Court itself is violating the rights? In a way, Fundamental Rights are put on hold for some citizens.
For instance, as we discussed above, for every three people in jail, four are waiting either for justice or for the case to get resolved. Because of it, article 19, article 20, and article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which give protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, protection in respect of conviction for offenses, and protection of life and personal liberty, respectively, are clearly being violated.
Why Cases are Pending in Court? Solution To The Problem
Now, after seeing the causes of pending cases in India, the question arises, why are cases pending in India? Most of the cases in the Supreme Court are related to the violation of fundamental rights. Sometimes, the Central Government makes certain decisions or laws that directly break a person’s Fundamental Rights. It is the primary reason for such a large number of Supreme Court and High Courts cases and why they are on hold. The issue can get resolved by increasing the number of judges by 20% in Indian Courts.
The second reason is the scarcity of judges or the smaller number of judges in lower or upper courts. Because of this, a large number of cases are pending. If judicial strength is increased by 20%, it can possibly resolve the pendency in Indian Courts. In some states, the number of registered cases has increased, but the number of judges is still the same.
The issue arises in most cases due to the lack of evidence and documents related to the registered complaint. It could be easily solved when people take an interest and provide related documents on time.
The image is taken from The Hindu
How Supreme Court Judges are Appointed
The appointment of judges in the Supreme Court has been controversial. We cannot say there is transparency while appointing Supreme Court judges. Let us see how the Supreme Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed.
1. The president of India appoints the Supreme judge of India with the consultation of other judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
2. The president of India appoints other judges of the Supreme Court with the consultation of the chief justice and other judges. The president has to consult the chief justice of India to appoint these judges.
Qualifications of Supreme Justice
There are some requirements to be the chief justice of the Supreme Court. However, it is worth noting that there is no age requirement for supreme judges. Let us see other conditions.
1. He/she must be an Indian citizen.
2. He/she should have been the judge of the High Court for at least a period of five years. Or he/she should have been an advocate in the High Court for ten years. Or he/she should be a distinguished jury in the president’s opinion.
The continuous increase in cases and more minor judges deny citizens their rights. They are either getting no justice or late justice, which is a serious issue because it violates their rights. Timely, several leading chief justices have emphasized increasing the number of judges. According to many, judicial strength increased by 20% can resolve pendency to a large extent in Indian Courts.