A quarter of all jobs in India’s judicial system are vacant⁠— delaying 28 million pending cases


  • As many as 28 million cases are pending across 27 states and UTs , with 24% of them pending for over 5 years.
  • While Indian youth is struggling to find a decent job, the country’s judicial system lacks human resources.
  • It has one of the lowest police to population ratios in the world, with 1,511 police persons for every 100,000 population.
  • Not a single high court or lower court in India had all its judicial posts filled
India judiciary system is extremely slow and erratic denying justice to millions of people. As many as 28 million cases are pending across 27 states and Union Territories, with nearly a quarter of them pending for over 5 years.

One in every four cases is pending for more than 5 years in Bihar, Uttar, Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat, Meghalaya and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Further, 2.3 million cases pending for over a decade, said the India Justice Report 2019.

There are several reasons for judicial pendencies ranging for large number unfilled vacancies, a long judicial process, a fast growing population and insufficient budget.

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25% of the jobs in judicial system were vacant in 2016-17

With unemployment rate at 8.5% (October 2019), according to CMIE, Indian youth is struggling to find a decent job. Yet, the country’s judicial system lacks human resources., India has one of the lowest police to population ratios in the world, with 1,511 police persons for every 100,000 population.



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“The national average of policemen on the ground is itself 42 persons short of the sanctioned strength which averages 193 for 100,000 population, “according to the report.

The number of police force jobs at officer level left vacant in some of the states and UTs were critical.

Further not a single high court or lower court in India had all its judicial posts filled. One in every four sanctioned High Court Judge position was left empty. The same is the case with subordinate courts. The figure of vacant posts lies from 52% in Mizoram to 4.5% in Maharashtra.

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“The data reveals a linkage between long-standing vacancies and the increase in case load—sometimes to a very high degree. Inevitably, this reduces the time and attention that can be spent on each case, stretches out the period litigants must wait for resolution, perpetuates case accumulation, and ensures inevitable delays well into the future,” said the report.

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