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December 2, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


The burgeoning backlog of cases in the Supreme Court, totaling a staggering 80,000, has become a pressing concern, necessitating structural reforms to enhance efficiency and expedite justice delivery. The need for a streamlined legal process is underscored by the strain on existing judicial infrastructure. This analysis delves into the evolution of the Supreme Court, the challenges it faces, and proposes reform measures to alleviate the backlog.

Evolution of the Supreme Court:

Constitutional Foundation: Established under Article 124, the Supreme Court is India’s apex judicial authority.

Jurisdictions: The Court exercises original, appellate, and advisory jurisdictions, serving as a Constitutional Court and Court of Appeal.

Current Scenario:

Pending Cases: As of September 2023, the Supreme Court grapples with 80,344 pending cases, comprising 78% civil and 22% criminal matters.

Disposition Rate: In 2023, the Court disposed of 36,164 cases, yet over 4,000 cases linger for over a decade.

Reasons for Backlog:

Low Judge Strength: With a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, vacancies and a low judge-to-population ratio contribute to the backlog.

Absence and Breaks: Judges’ attendance at various functions and annual breaks affect their availability.

Infrastructure Challenges: Inadequate courtrooms, staff, and technology impede efficiency.

Proximity of Appeals: Appeals from High Courts geographically closer to the Supreme Court dominate, contributing to the workload.

Frivolous Cases: Misuse of the Supreme Court’s broad jurisdiction results in the admission of frivolous appeals.

Reform Measures:

Division of Supreme Court: Proposals suggest splitting the Court into Constitutional and Legal Divisions, specializing in constitutional and non-constitutional matters.

National Court of Appeal: Establishing a specialized court for Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) related to constitutional and public law issues.

Regional Benches: Creating regional benches in Delhi, Chennai or Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai to address non-constitutional cases.

Increased Work Days: Recommendations to extend working days and reduce vacation periods to address the backlog.

Final Court of Appeal: A bifurcation of the Court’s work to distinguish constitutional matters from appellate and review jurisdiction.

Infrastructure Authority: Proposal for a National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India (NJIAI) to address infrastructure deficiencies.


The monumental case backlog in the Supreme Court necessitates immediate attention and comprehensive reforms. The proposed measures, such as division, regionalization, increased workdays, and infrastructure enhancement, aim to streamline the legal process and ensure timely justice delivery. Embracing these reforms is imperative for fostering a responsive and effective judiciary in India.

Mains Question:

  1. The Supreme Court of India is grappling with a substantial backlog of cases, raising concerns about the efficiency of justice delivery. Discuss the multifaceted reasons behind this backlog and evaluate the proposed reform measures, such as the division of the Supreme Court and establishment of a National Court of Appeal, in addressing this challenge. (150 Words)


December 2, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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