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Author: Kashish Kaushik, IV Year of B.B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From Icfai Law School, Dehradun.

Co-author: Priya Ranjan, IV year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From Icfai Law School, Dehradun.

It is clear that the legal system in India is lacking after 75 years of independence, as there are around 37 million pending cases in different courts. A famous quote by William Edward Gladstone (the former PM of England) goes: "Justice delayed is justice denied."

Malimath Committee formed under Justice Malimath provided suggestions to eradicate the arrears of Cases. The proposals were to settle pending cases through the LokAdalat on a priority basis. The Cases were sought to be heard on a day-to-day basis avoiding adjournments to settle the cases. Similarly the High Court arrears committee under the Chairmanship of Justice S.R Das was set up in 1949. Later in 1969 Chief Justice Hidayatullah was appointed as the chairman of the committee to inquire into the issue of arrears of cases. The Committee provided suggestions with regard to resolving the issue of arrears of cases. During the year 1987, parliament passed the legal services authority act, which came into force on 9th November 1995. The act was passed to help reduce the number of cases pending in courts, solve matters outside the court, and provide free legal assistance to women and children ST/SC, industrial workmen, victims of mass disasters, violence, disabled persons, the victim of trafficking in human trafficking , etc.

C.V Ramana, the former CJI of India, recently stated that National legal service authority (NALSA) is the best option for resolving pending cases in India. The reasons for the failure to fill judicial vacancies and not improving judicial infrastructure are listed as the main cause of the pending cases in India. There are tremendous factors responsible for backlog of cases. Such as in luxurious litigation, parties who are wealthy attempt to frustrate and delay the judicial process by filing numerous proceedings across the judicial system.

Every person's personal liberty is protected by Article 21. It is recognized by the Supreme Court of India as the core of fundamental rights. Speedy trial and fair trial are included within this sphere of protection. A central role of the Indian judiciary is to safeguard the interests of citizens. The Judiciary has ruled various times that the Indian Constitution guarantees speedy trials according to article 21. Those deprived of their liberty must be reasonable, rational, fair, and not arbitrarily by state. In case of  Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar The Apex Court, in this case, held that the “right to a speedy trial” is a fundamental right implicit in the right of life and personal liberty provided under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Justice Krishna Iyer in Babu Singh and Ors vs. State of U.P while deciding the matter of bail stated that “our justice system even in grave cases suffers the slow motion syndrome which is lethal to the fair trail whatever the ultimate decision is. A speedy trial is the most dignified institutions in any civilized society in which human values, such as faith and trust, take precedence over everything else. Speedy and fair trail is crucial for allege person. The jailed accused, subjected to the psychological and physical deprivations of jail life, lose his job and is prevented from contributing effectively to the preparation of his defense. According to death penalty India report says that of the 1,486 death sentences pronounced between 2000 and 2015, only 73 were upheld after appeal and 443 convicts were found to be innocent. Abdul Rehman Antuley v. R S Nayak, 1992 Supreme Court held that the Right to a speedy trial under Article 21 is available at all stages namely, the stage of investigation, inquiry, trial, appeal, revision and retrial. Ramachandra Rao v. State of Karnataka- They is: length of delay, the justification for the delay, the accused assertion of his Right to Speedy Trial, and prejudice caused to the accused by such delay. Delays in the trial constitute a violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equal protection of the law and equality before the law.

As compared with developed countries US and UK, there are 107, 51 judges per million residents respectively. In India, however, the condition is very terrible. There are only 17 judges.

According to National crime report bureau data says that there are 1319 functional jails in India, with a total capacity of approx. 4, 25,609 prisoners but actual strength exceeds 5.54 lakhs. The occupancy rate at the end of the year was 130.2%.The High Court of Allahabad, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan, Madras, and Madhya Pradesh accounts for the most pending cases in India. Former supreme court judge markandey katju says “ it is estimated that if no fresh case is filed, it will take about 360 years to clear the backlog” of cases in all the Indian courts. Our vice president also made a statement that there was a need for division of the supreme court into a constitution bench at Delhi and cassation benches in four regions- Delhi, Chennai or Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai as suggested by law commission.

Public Interest Litigation cases have swamped the High Courts and Apex Courts. Its misuse includes the careless filing of PILs for publicity, personal gain, and political competition. The misuse of PIL has often drawn the serious attention of the Apex Court. When hearing a PIL that was filed for political reasons, Justice Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhusan stated that it is high time to review the PIL concept as the judicial processes are being abused. Similarly, Justice R.F. Nariman rejected a claim that there were orders to deport Muslims from India to Pakistan. Suraz India Trust and its chairman Rajeev Dahiya were fined 25 lakh rupees in 2017 for submitting more than 64 false petitions, and they were also prohibited from filing any cases in any Indian court. Therefore, such pointless PIL filings waste the courts' valuable time.

As per the current constitutional scheme, English is the official language for the Supreme Court and the high court until parliament by law provides for those who come from a different linguistic background. The complexity of statutory language makes a legal system difficult to understand, this language barrier limits the understanding regarding their rights. The Supreme Court has said doubling the number of judges was not the solution for pendency of cases as more judges do not really mean more case disposal and instead, good judges are required. Between 2010- 2020 pendency across all courts grew by 2.8% annually. High courts and subordinate courts that serve a larger population have a high number of pending cases. District courts across the country also suffer from inadequate infrastructure and poor working conditions. We need improvement particularly if they are to meet the digital expectations raised by the high judiciary.

There was a drop in new cases as the court went digital but with lockdown restrictions in place, a slower disposal rate resulted in more pending cases. Initiative taken by government to reduce pendency, a government-sponsored scheme for the development of infrastructure facilities for the judiciary has been extended till 2025-26 at a total cost of 9,000 crores out of which the central share will be more than 5,307 crores. The government has implemented an e-court mission mode project throughout the country for information and commission technology enablement of the district and subordinate courts. The number of computerized district and subordinate courts has increased by 18,735. 44 judges were appointing in the Supreme Court, 710 judges and 589 additional judges were appointed and 588 additional judges were made permanent in the high court. The sanctioned strength of judges of the high court increased, and the judges of high courts have increased from 906 in May 2014 to 1104 currently. Amendment to the arbitration and conciliation act 1996 has been made by the arbitration and conciliation amendment act 2015 for expediting the speedy resolution of disputes by prescribing timelines. On 31st January 2022, 915 fast track courts are functional against heinous crime (crime against women and children). In addition to reducing pendency and unclogging of the courts, the government has amended various laws like the negotiable instruments act of 2018, the commercial court act of 2018, the specific relief amendment act 2018, the arbitration and conciliation act amendment act of 2019, criminal law amendment act 2018. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is non-adversarial that is working together cooperatively to reach the best resolution between the conflict parties. ADR can be instrumental in reducing the burden of litigation courts while delivering a well-rounded and satisfying experience for the parties involved. The resolution of disputes takes place usually in private, helping maintain confidentiality. It is a more viable economic and efficient procedure; flexibility saves valuable time and money, and the absence of stress of the conventional trial.  A way forward is to substantially increase the strength of judicial services by appointing more judges as subordinate judges; improvement just starts from the bottom of the pyramid. The Supreme Court may mandate summary disposal of all hibernating files of those spending for more than 10 years before the high court if they do not concern a question of significant public policy or law. Our judicial system tends to provide the same as asserted above. Judiciary is the wing of the State and hence if the proper working of the judicial system comes under threat it is the onus of the State to remove flaws in the mechanism so that timely Justice to every section of society could not be hampered.


By creating judicial vacancies, there is a need to increase the number of judges. The number of courtrooms also needed to be increased in order to handle more cases. Justice T.S. Thakur, a former Chief Justice of India, once bemoaned the Executive's inaction to increase the number of judges. There are very few working days in a year for the Apex Courts and High Courts. The High Court typically lasts 174–210 days (varies from state to state) and the Supreme Court typically lasts around 190 days. To decrease case pending times, former Justice R.M. Lodha recommended in 2014 that court hours, particularly at the High Court, be increased. The Government needs to consider expanding the number of days the Courts are open in order to

Judges' pay needs to be increased. The judiciary should receive a larger budget allocation. Judges on the high court ought to take fewer vacations.

In order to prevent the destruction of any evidence, police should begin their investigation promptly after filing an FIR. If the parties are willing to reach a settlement, the compounding method should be used to resolve criminal offenses that fall under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure because in this situation, the accused admits guilt. The criminal justice system in India will become more effective thanks to these techniques. As a result, delays in criminal cases reflect poorly on our legal system. As a result, they ought to be eliminated by appropriate action. There are different advisory bodies like Law Commission which provide suggestions time to time in order to fix the bugs created in the judicial system. Despite of it the law schools and private think tanks also provide suggestions to the Government in order to combat when such problem persists. The Government, Bar including Bench should also come up with proactive approach to deal with arrears of the cases so that the institutions can work smoothly accessing its aim on top threshold.


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