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23/05/2022 – Judiciary

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May 23, 2022

One size fits all approach cannot solve the problem of judicial pendency in India. Discuss (200 words)

Refer – Live Mint

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IAS Parliament 6 months

KEY POINTS

·        Of the 470 million cases pending in Indian courts, around 87% are in district and subordinate courts.

·        However various empirical studies are focused on bigger courts and mostly propose one-size-fits-all theories.

Why decentralised approach is necessary?

·        Around 62% of cases pending for 10+ years are lying in just 10% of the districts. There is no state-wide pattern. Some districts in the same state do very well, while adjoining ones perform poorly.

·        District-level pendency in criminal and civil matters are highly correlated. Courts that have delays in one type of cases have delayed it in the other type as well.

·        This implies that

o   pendency is function of which district court the case is filed in.

o   the cultures of delays is predominant only in these district courts.

o   Pendency is a district-level problem, and not state or national level.

·        Also Pendency rates is closely related to filing rates, which in turn depend on population, legal awareness, education, and income levels of the people.

·        So, district-level interventions rather than state- or national-level policies will yield quicker and better results.

·        In India policymaking in most fields has been dominated by country or state design ideas plastered over a large number of districts without considering their unique challenges.

What needs to be done?

·        We have to decentralize both identification of policy problems and their solutions to Indian districts in addition to addressing the centralized issues.

·        Data in the National Judicial Data Grid shows the total number of cases (both civil and criminal) pending for over 10 years in district courts in 2021.

·        So, District-level data and culture mapping for policy application must be made.

·        Appointment of number of judges, filling up vacancies, increase working days of the judiciary, adoption of technology, and creating specialized tribunals must be made accordingly considering the nature and amount of cases pending in different areas. 

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