©Dr. Satywan Saurabh
Research Scholar in Political Science,
Poetess, freelance journalist, and columnist,
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concern over increasing pendency of cases from the Supreme Court to the lower courts. Vice President Naidu has urged the government and judiciary to ensure speedy justice. Naidu underlined the need for a speedy and inexpensive system of justice. Citing the prolonged adjournment of cases, he said that justice is getting costly “Justice delayed is justice denied” The Vice President remarked that public interest litigation should not become a private interest petition for personal, economic, and political interests needed.
The debate has been going on for a long time regarding the pending cases by the Supreme Court.
Today, there are 60,450 cases pending in the Supreme Court. There are 45,12,800 cases pending in the High Courts, out of which 85% cases are pending for the last 1 year. More than 2,89,96000 cases are pending in various subordinate courts of the country. These have more criminal cases than civil cases. Which is a big concern in itself
Due to the delay in filling the vacant posts of judicial officers, about 6000 posts are lying vacant in the subordinate courts. There are only 20 judges per million population in India. Earlier, the Law Commission recommended 50 judges per million. Repeated adjournment: Due to the increasing pendency of cases, the prescribed procedure of allowing a maximum of three adjournments in more than 50 percent of the cases heard by the courts is not followed, which can solve the problem.
The increased activity of the Supreme Court is being driven by appeals from lower courts.
The Special Leave Petition (SLP) which the Constituent Assembly hoped would rarely be used, but now dwarfs the work of the Supreme Court.
The average working day of the Supreme Court is 188 days, while the rules of the apex court specify a minimum work of 225 days. The courts have created new positions for court managers to help improve court operations, optimize case movement, and judicial timing. However, so far only a few courts have filled such positions.
The desire for modern and scientific means to collect evidence often helps the police conduct effective investigations. With people becoming more aware of their rights and the state’s obligations towards them, they approach the courts more often in case of any violation.
Timely disposal of cases is necessary to maintain the rule of law and provide access to justice. The speedy trial is a part of the right to life and freedom guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Early justice builds social infrastructure: a weak judiciary has a negative impact on social development, due to low per capita income; High poverty rate; Poor public infrastructure; And, high crime rates occur.
Delayed justice affects human rights: overcrowding in prisons, already lacking in basic facilities, in some cases beyond 150% of capacity, resulting in “human rights violations”. This affects the country’s economy as it was estimated that judicial delays cost India around 1.5% of GDP annually, due to the backlog, that detainees in most of India’s jails await trial. People would bribe the police officer instead of going through the lengthy trial trials. Criminals roam freely due to the slow legal system.