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Zero pendency Court project

Topics covered:

  1. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Zero pendency Court project


What To study?

For prelims: Key features of the project.

For mains: Significance of the project, Judicial reforms and concerns over rising pendency of cases.


What is it?

  • It is the pilot project of the Delhi High Court.
  • It is one of its kind project in India aimed to study the life cycles of cases to come up with optimal timelines for cases.
  • The primary goal of the project was to study the flow of cases in the absence of backlog.
  • The aim of project is to provide information on the judicial time required to dispose of a case together with the gathering stage wise details in each case.
  • It was undertaken in certain subordinate courts of Delhi to identify benchmarks for different types of cases timelines, number of judges required, case flow management rules and a host of other relevant factors.


Highlights of the report:

Need more judges: Delhi needs 43 more Judges above the current strength of 143 to clear all pending cases in one year.

More criminal cases: The number of criminal cases in Delhi is far more than the number of civil cases. As on March 2019, there were 5.5 lakh criminal cases and 1.8 lakh civil cases pending in subordinate courts in Delhi.

Most time spent: The highest amount of time per hearing on average was spent on the final arguments stage followed by the final order or judgement. A considerable amount of time is taken on dictation, researching on case laws etc. before pronouncing the final judgement. Thus, a lot of time is spent on each of the hearings.


Reasons for delays:

  • The absence of witness.
  • Unnecessary Adjournments sought by the advocates or the parties at various stages in the case.
  • There is also a delay in the service of summons, especially outstation parties.


Concerns expressed:

Increase in workload: With the lesser number of judges, the workload of an individual judge could increase.

Credibility issue: With persisting delays the system becomes less credible as litigants have to wait for the decades to get their cases resolved.

Increase in pendency: With an increase in the number of filings, the pendency of cases is bound to increase if no proper targeted steps are taken to overcome the issue.


Need of the hour:

Arrive at an optimal judge strength to handle the cases pending in the system. Increase the current strength of judges from 143 to an ideal 186 judges to clear all the pending cases in one year.

Sources: The Hindu.