With an almost 45% shortage of judicial staff, India awaits justice

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India has witnessed a giant return of BJP with a promise to Bring ‘’Ache Din’’. But will ‘’Ache Din’ come for Judiciary in India is still a question. We have lot of expectations from our new Law Minister Shri. Ravishankar Prasad who himself is India’s senior most lawyer & understands the problem well.

‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ is a gray saying. This legal quote denotes if timely justice is not provided to the sufferer it loses it importance and violates the power of basic human rights. The Indian judicial system still lives in a very old age. It is reported that more than 40 lakh cases are pending for disposal in the High Courts and the number of cases pending in the subordinate courts has crossed two crores. This approach of justice delivery system brings forth a pathetic situation prevailing all around.


Judiciary needs at least 40,000 judges to tackle the huge backlog of almost 3 crore cases. Over three crore cases are pending in various courts across the country and this unacceptable level can only be reduced by appointment of more judges .

India to have 15 crore pending cases by 2040, report says if the condition continues to be the same. India has just 13 judges for every ten lakhpeople as against 35-40 in other developing nations and 50 in a developed country, a Parliamentary panel has said and urged the government to make all efforts to fill up the existing vacant posts of judges.

The Committee on Empowerment of Women in its report on ‘Victims of sexual abuse and trafficking and their rehabilitation’ noted that India has 18,000 positions of judges at the subordinate Judiciary level but 3,000 are yet to be filled. Department of Justice informed the panel that of the 18,000 positions of judges, about 15,000 are presiding the courts and there is a proposal to add another 15,000 positions in the next five years which will take the number to 30,000. But the Committee was of the view that even that augmentation of resources will be inadequate. It said, “Even after increasing the strength of judges, the judge-population ratio in the country would be far less than the ratio in other developed/developing countries.” The committee recommended that the government should make “all out efforts to fill up all the existing vacant posts of judges at the subordinate level as in the High Courts”. The panel also directed the government to apprise it of the concrete steps taken by it to bring the judge-population ratio at least to a level of 35-40 Judges per ten lakh population, if not 50 as existing in developed countries.

Speedy trial is the essence of criminal justice and there can be no doubt that delays in trial by itself constitutes denial of justice. It is prejudice to a man to be detained due to delay in trial. Speedy trial is an integral and essential part of the fundamental right of life and liberty enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In United States, also speedy trial is one of the constitutionally assured rights. Moreover, the procedure should be reasonable, fair and just in each proceeding involving persons fundamental rights. But for such delays why should the Judiciary be blamed it is the the government who needs to recruit more judges and increase their expenditure on Judicial System of the country.

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

However it need to be mentioned that the concept of backlogs doesn’t describe the actual reason for so many cases lying in the courts. Rather the term “backlog” has been misused and the term “pendency” is the right word for describing the large number of cases pending in the courts today. As could be understood, the largest number of cases that are actually pending in the Indian Courts are that of minor Motor Vehicle Cases, petty crimes such as stealing, abusing, insult, slap, etc. It is an established fact which the Government of India accepts that there is almost 45% shortage of judicial staff .

On 12 January 2012, a Supreme Court bench said that people’s faith in judiciary was decreasing at an alarming rate, posing a grave threat to constitutional and democratic governance of the country. It acknowledged some of the serious problems such as –
  • Large number of vacancies in trial courts,
  • Unwillingness of lawyers to become judges,
  • Failure of the apex judiciary in filling vacant HC judges posts.
It wanted to seek answers from the government on amicus curiae’s suggestion that access to justice must be made a constitutional right and consequently the executive must provide necessary infrastructure for ensuring every citizen enjoyed this right. It also wanted the Government of India to detail the work being done by the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms.

The Primary Causes of Law Delays & Justice are quite evident . The Inadequate number of judges and courts in the country is clearly one of the major reasons for such delay. The Governments have not only failed to increase the numerical strength of judges and courts but have also been slack in filling up of vacancies. If India compares with USA,UK there’s only 10 – 12 judges per 10 lacks of people in India while in U.S.A. & UK it is 65 – 75 judges per 10 lacks of people, 50 – 55 judges in U.K., even India’s neighbor and far backward in every aspect has the rate much higher than that of India.

Written by Himadrish Suwan >>

Himadrish Suwan is a student of DU & a regular contributor for various leading registered magazines and e-magazines. He is the youngest Recipient of the International Young Achievers award in the field of Media & Information Activism. He is also a well acquainted RTI activist. He was recently included in the list of India’s Top 6 “Young Powerful Change-makers”.
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Indian Exponent: With an almost 45% shortage of judicial staff, India awaits justice
With an almost 45% shortage of judicial staff, India awaits justice
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