Around 5 crore cases are pending in courts across India

5 Sep 2022  Read 4273 Views

More than four crore cases are pending in various courts in India. Shockingly, a few of these have been pending for more than ten years. This shows that our Indian judicial system is under tremendous pressure. As per the records of 2022, over 4.7 crore cases are pending in courts across different levels of the judiciary. Of them, 87.4% are pending in subordinate courts, and 12.4% in High Courts. Amid the rising litigation trend, more people and organizations are approaching courts as advocates or attorneys. However, the number of judges available to hear these cases is not yet enough; no growth here, though. What can be the possible reason for such a backlog of cases? Let’s discuss this in our article.

How many cases are pending in India?

It is said that “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The prime reason for the immense backlog of cases is the inadequate infrastructure that has resulted in overburdened courts.

  • Around 60,000 cases are pending in Supreme Court.

  • Around 42 lakh cases are pending in different High Courts.

  • Around 2.7 crore cases are pending in District and Sub-ordinate Courts.

Why do Indian Courts have a huge backlog of cases?

1. Increase in the awareness of rights by a common man

The first reason is not exactly negative. However, it has contributed to the immense backlog of cases. Recent socio-economic advances and increased awareness of legal rights have encouraged more people to approach law courts for justice.

2. New mechanisms (Eg: PIL) and new rights (Eg: RTI)

Judicial activism is one of the most effective tools for safeguarding citizens' rights. It is very important in implementing social policies on problems such as individual rights, civil rights, public morality, etc. So, PIL has been manifested from judicial activism, and the active judiciary's introduction of new devices like PIL resulted in more cases.

3. There are not enough judges

Another prime reason is that there are not enough judges (only around 21,000). The current Judge to Population ratio is 10 to 1 million. The Law Commission report in 1987 recommends at least 50 to 1 million. The population has increased by over 25 crores since 1987. What is problematic is that the Centre states that the States must take the lead in increasing the number of judges, and the States say the Center should take the lead. Also, the number of judges is low & the appointed judges are taking long vacations, especially in High Courts.

4. There are not enough courts

Similarly, the Indian judiciary has insufficient resources, due to which there are not enough courts. Both Centre and States are showing disinterest in spending on the judiciary. Indian Judiciary is alloted only with 0.1% to 0.4% of the budget. Hence, modernization and computerization have not embraced all the courts.

5. There is too much litigation from the Government Side

The government is the largest litigant in India, responsible for around half the pending cases. Sometimes, one government department sues the other, leaving decision-making to the courts. Also, in most cases, when the government files a case, it is seen that the government side fails to prove the point.

6. Low judicial quality in lower courts

The Indian Judiciary has badly failed to attract the best brains and talented students. As the quality of judges in lower courts is not always up to the mark or the judgments are not satisfactory, appeals are filed against the decisions in higher courts, which again increases the number of cases. The peculiar reason of such dissatisfaction is that Judges lack specialization or are lazy.

7. Vague Drafting of Laws

The obsolete laws that are part of the statute books, faulty or vague drafting of laws, and their multiple interpretations by several courts are also reasons for prolonged litigation. Some of these laws date back to the 1880s. Even in the present times, if a person wants to do something, he is shown a law drafted in the last century and told to stop doing it.


Ultimately, we would say that our honorable judges are using their spare time fruitfully to ponder what is troublesome for the nation. And the nation gives them enough spare time to do so. However, there have been many factors contributing to the backlog of cases. Did you know? Currently, the Supreme Court has 193 working days (nearly 200) in a year, high courts 210 days, and trial courts 245 days. The Supreme Court has five vacations in its annual calendar—a summer break of 45 days, a winter break of 15 days, and a Holi vacation of one week. 

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 134 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Curator at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course) & she is a patent analyst. She has pursued advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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