The latest figures on court pendency suggest that the average judge in the US handles 81 cases per year. Meanwhile, an average Indian judge deals with an astounding 2,600 cases a year, or 50 per week.
"Almost 61,000 matters were pending in the apex court. Of them 50,000 were civil and the rest criminal. Additionally, a whopping 4 million cases are pending in the country's 24 High Courts, which have only 608 judges out of a sanctioned strength of 1,079, as of June 30 last year. In district courts, over 28 million matters are pending because nearly 5,000 posts of judicial officers are vacant," reads the report.
A report compiled by the non-profit organization DAKSH points out, "in 10 High Courts, judges take up 20 to 150 cases every day, or an average of 70 hearings daily. The average time that the judges have for each hearing, derived from the number of cases they hear and the daily working hours that they put in, could be as little as two minutes. The frequency of hearings is closely linked with efficiency, and has an impact on the concept of fair hearings."
In April of last year, then-Chief Justice of India T. S. Thakur wept in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while lamenting the shortage of judges. Delivering a speech at the Annual Chief Ministers and Chief Justices' Conference, he had stated that "Indian courts are woefully under-equipped to adequately address the number of cases it has pending."
"Therefore not only in the name of the poor litigant languishing in jail but also in the name of the country and progress, I beseech you to realize that it is not enough to criticize the judiciary… you cannot shift the entire burden to the judiciary.''