Supreme Court clears 6,844 pending cases

Prelims level : Judiciary Mains level : GS-II Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
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Why in News?

  • The Supreme Court has disposed of 6,844 cases since Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud took over as the country’s top judge on November 9. 

About the Supreme Court:

  • The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial court and the final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of judicial review.
  • India is a federal State and has a single and unified judicial system with three tier structure, i.e. Supreme Court, High Courts and Subordinate Courts.

What are the concerns?

  • The retirements come at a time when the court is in the process of steadying itself after particularly brutal waves of the pandemic. There is a huge pendency of cases.
  • India’s legal system has the largest backlog of pending cases in the world – as many as 30 million pending cases.
  • This number is continuously increasing and this itself shows the inadequacy of the legal system.
  • And also due to this backlog, most of the prisoners in India’s prisons are detainees awaiting trial.

Pendency in Supreme Court:

  • The Supreme Court’s statistics show that 70,362 cases are pending with it as of April 1, 2022.
  • Over 19% of them are not ready to be placed before a Bench for judicial hearing as they have not completed the required preliminaries.
  • While 52,110 are admission matters, 18,522 are regular hearing cases.
  • The number of Constitution Bench cases (both main and connected matters) totals 422.
  • The Supreme Court has only recently resumed full physical hearings after two years of virtual systems.

Various steps taken by the Government to reduce Pendency:

  • Adoption of “National Litigation Policy 2010” to transform government into an Efficient and Responsible litigant.
  • All states formulated state litigation policies after National Litigation Policy 2010.
  • Legal Information Management and Briefing System (LIMBS) was created in 2015 with the objective of tracking cases to which the government is a party.
  • The Supreme Court had advised the centre that criminals sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months or a year should be allocated social service duties rather than be sent to further choke the already overflowing prisons.

Need of the hour:

  • Revise national litigation policy.
  • Promotion of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to encourage mediation.
  • Coordinated action between government and judiciary.
  • Judicial capacity should be strengthened in the lower courts to reduce the burden on higher courts.
  • Increase expenditure on the judiciary.
  • Improve courts case management and court automation system.
  • Create subject-specific benches.
  • Robust internal dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • Judges should write Shorter and more Pointed judgments.
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