Inadequate data on pending cases and “lack of scientific maintenance” of data makes it difficult to analyse problems and propose sustainable solutions for the judiciary, a legal thinktank has said in its report.
Pointing out “discrepancies” in the data available with National Court Management Systems Committee , the Court News published by Supreme Court, the National Judicial Data Grid and various court websites, the report by Bengaluru-based Daksh India states that there is “no unanimity on the number of judges in the country”.
According to the report, delays in disposal of cases due to “inefficient” case management and vacancies on the bench are two major problems before the Judiciary.
Released Wednesday, the State of the Indian Judiciary report is based on data collected from 21 high courts and 475 subordinate courts in the country. The database created for the report included 3,514,486 cases from the high courts and subordinate courts. The thinktank also included surveys of litigants and lawyers from several courts to analyse judiciary’s problems.
The report says that nearly 57 per cent of cases from 331 district and subordinate courts, which were included in the analysis, have taken more than 10 years to be disposed of. As adequate data was not available for all high courts, the report found that in Bombay, Gujarat, Kerala and Orissa high courts, over 86 per cent of cases had taken 10-15 years to be disposed of. The major cause of delay, the report claims, is that in the 21 surveyed high courts, judges hear between 20 and 150 cases a day, averaging 70 hearings per day for a judge.
The report highlights problems faced by litigants, including the accused in criminal cases. It says 31 per cent of individuals accused of bailable offences claimed that they continue to be in jail as they cannot afford bail or guarantors to stand surety. It also shows that less than 3 per cent of litigants used legal aid, despite being eligible to take the benefit of government-appointed lawyers.