India’s public policy think tank is reportedly planning an index to rank the annual performance of judges


  • Niti Aayog is reportedly working on a proposal for a performance index of judges.
  • The think tank is developing a system to review the annual performance of judges across the country - from the Supreme Court to the district courts.
  • The index will cover more than 17,000 judges and will be made public.
  • While the performance review proposal will likely be opposed by judges, Niti Aayog likely sees it as a way to make India’s courts operate with more efficiency.
The Indian government’s policy think tank, Niti Aayog, is reportedly working on a proposal for a performance index of judges.

The think tank is developing a system to review the annual performance of judges across the country - from the Supreme Court to the district courts. The index will cover more than 17,000 judges.

The rankings will also be made public, not only in the interest of transparency, but to motivate judges to perform better.
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The index will rank judges based on a number of indicators such as cost per case, pending caseload, duration of trials and clearance rate.

The idea of a “judicial performance index” was first mooted by the think tank in August 2017, but for lower courts. At the time, it also suggested an online recruitment system for Indian courts.


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While the performance review proposal will likely be opposed by judges, Niti Aayog likely sees it as a way to make India’s courts operate with more efficiency. In December 2018, the think tank also proposed an all-India exam to appoint judges for district courts.

Indian courts have a huge backlog. There are currently 30.4 million pending court cases in India, according to the National Judicial Data Grid, 73% of which are more than 1 year old. A study by India’s finance ministry reportedly estimated that it would take 324 years to clear up the caseload at the current rate of completion.

If the judges performance review is to become effective in making courts more efficient, it will have to be supplemented with better resources and infrastructure for the courts, Bishwajit Bhattacharyya, the former solicitor general, told ET. There should also be a system of case disposal targets at the high courts and Supreme Courts, as is the case for lower courts, he added.
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