The Supreme Court, which had a meagre 690 pending cases after one year of its inception in 1950, is reeling under “mounting arrears” which has risen to a whopping 60,938 till last September despite the rise in judges’ strength from 8 to 31.
The data, released by the Supreme Court in the ‘Indian Judiciary Annual Report 2015-2016’, reflects that filing of cases in the apex court has also risen manifold as in its first year, 1,215 cases were filed compared to 59,386 between January to September 30 last year.
The sanctioned strength of judges in the Supreme Court, which came into existence on January 28, 1950, two days after India became a sovereign democratic republic, was eight at the time of its inception, while it is 31 now.
According to the data, out of the total 1,215 case filed in 1950, the apex court disposed of 525 matters leaving 690 cases pending in the first year.
The pendency of cases has increased year after year in the apex court and in 1981, for the first time the pendency at the end of the year crossed the 50,000 mark -- at 50,201.
Similarly, in 1989, the pendency of cases breached the one lakh barrier for the first time as it was 1,06,027 at the year end.
However, “the pendency figures shown up to the year 1992 indicates the number of matters after expanded hyphenated number on files. From 1993 onwards, the figures of pendency of matters are actual file-wise, that is, without expanding hyphenated number on files,” the report said.
According to the figures, 1997 was fruitful for the top court as at the end of the year, the total pendency came down to 19,032.
2014 saw total institution of 89,164 cases in the apex court which disposed of 92,722 matters, a record since its inception. At the end of 2015, the pendency was 59,272.
“The mounting arrears of the cases have been a cause of concern for all courts in the country, including the Supreme Court of India. A sustained effort to clear the backlog has resulted in reducing the pendency of this court below the 60,000 mark by the end of the year 2015,” the report said.