Haphazard Appointment Of Judges Worsening High Court Judicial Delays

By Shobhit Mathur, Co-Founder & Dean at Rashtram

Image Source: Vision India Foundation

This article was published in Bloomberg Quint and Herald

High courts nationwide are 37 percent short of judges, and ad hoc appointments–not posting judges to courts that need them most–are worsening delays and affecting India’s economy, according to our analysis of data released by the department of justice.

There were over 4.2 million cases pending in the 24 high courts of India on Feb. 4, according to the National Judicial Data Grid, with 49 percent of these cases more than five years old.

Data from central ministries show that infrastructure projects of close to Rs 52,000 crore are affected by court orders, according to the Economic Survey 2017-18.

India’s judicial delays are legendary, and the shortage of judges is well documented, as IndiaSpend has previously reported.

The Allahabad High court has the highest number of pending cases, exceeding 900,000 cases in 2016 and 2017.

The number of pending cases has declined during 2017 by a slight margin in only three of 24 high courts.

In terms of increase in pending cases, Karnataka High Court is the most stressed court with an increase in pendency of 36,479 cases followed by Hyderabad and Punjab & Haryana with 32,548 and 30,195 pending cases, respectively.

The working strength of judges has not changed for the three high courts of Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Sikkim.

The number of judges has declined in Calcutta (seven), Himachal Pradesh (three), Gujarat and Tripura (two) and Manipur and Orissa (one).

Pallabi was a Research Intern with Vision India Foundation.