Need For Judicial Reforms In India: A Deep Study

The pendency of cases in courts in India is only increasing. This is not just due to the delay in cases but also due to vacancy of Judges in India. This vacancy filling is also another issue plaguing India since the Collegium system is opaque and a fairer means is requires. The author talks more about the issue of required Judicial reforms.

The recent fallout between the senior judges of the Supreme Court of India with the Chief Justice of India should speak highly of what is wrong with the system. The mere fact the judiciary which is supposed to be the guardian of the rights of citizens is being looked down upon by the people themselves is a cause of worry. This remains the sole institution that keeps a check on the powers and purse of the Government without a sword. The Judiciary acts as the last resort for any person who is aggrieved and craves justice. But if this same institution fails to perform its duty in a time-bound manner, nothing less is expected of it. Hence, a need for judicial reforms in India.

We have a system that is known for its “Tareekh pe tareekh” attitude. The case keeps getting delayed for months and years sometimes out of serious compulsions and sometimes because at the fancies of the lawyers. This has resulted in a very bad pendency burden on our courts. The number of cases pending before the Supreme Court of India, as on November 1, 2017, stands at 55,259[1]. Whereas in all the High Courts, as of 31st December 2014, stands at 3116492 (civil) and 1037465 (criminal)[2].  This reflects very badly on the overall picture of the Indian Judiciary. Many of these cases are pending in courts for more than 10 years. Sometimes it just so happens that either the original petitioner or the accused is dead and the order of the court comes months after their sad demise! Whatever happened to Justice? As rightly said, justice delayed is indeed justice denied.

The tendency is not only because of the delay in the cases but because of a large number of vacancies for the post of judges. If we go by 120th Law Commission Report, it states that India needs 50 judges per million. And if we go into the ratio of pending cases to number of judges required then, we are in need of a little more than 60,000 judges in order to dispose of some 32 million cases pending in Supreme Court, High Court and Subordinate Courts in all while the current number of judges that India has stood at 16,119. In this condition yet, the judiciary is giving its best possible shot till today.

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Another issue is of the appointment of the judges. It’s a far and widely accepted fact is that appointment of judges through collegium is a very opaque procedure. Whereas the appointments made through exams are far transparent than through that of the collegium. The lower judiciary has corruption deep-rooted in it. It so happens that the salary of the court officers is not enough to sustain them in today’s world. Security of the judges is an important aspect!

These issues need to be put in line. There is a need for the All India Judicial Appointments committee that will work out a process for the selection of judges from subordinate courts to the apex court. Accountability needs to be reined in all corners of the judiciary which would ensure timely hearing of matters and timely disposals. The vacancies need to be filled up as soon as possible. And above all, a redressal system for any issues between judges is immediately required.  Even after all those issues, the Indian Judiciary never fails to amaze as people still look up to them as the institution that delivers justice and fights for them against the arbitrary powers of government. Having said all these judicial reforms in India are much needed.

Also read Role of Judiciary in Maintaining Rule of Law


[1] http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/statistics , Last visited 19/01/2018

[2] http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=137291 , Last visited 18/01/2018