At the end of 2014, three crore cases were pending in our courts: You get some idea of the seriousness when you realize that we have only 155 judges for every one crore of the population. This is about 18000 judges.
Now assume that a judge cracks one case in a 5-day week. If we believe that these judges stretch and work for forty-eight weeks, a judge will close out 48 cases a year. The 18000 judges will clear 864,000 cases a year. At that pace, it will take all of 35 years to close out the backlog.
Should they or shouldn't they, therefore, be working on modernizing the facilities, increase the bench size, crack the whip on adjournments, put in slightly longer hours, etc.? Should they not be focusing on the more important cases? Of course, they should. But they don’t.
They are busy hearing cases on Jallikattu and Sabarimala and are happy passing orders of an administrative nature. The court heard Salman Khan’s bail with rare alacrity. On the crucial issue of who should call the shots – the central government appointed figurehead of a lieutenant governor or the publicly elected chief minister – the courts have kept remarkably quiet.
It's time a semblance of speed and that of prioritizing get shown and old cases are cleared with alacrity.