40% Decrease in Non-Hearable Pending SC Cases in 2018
Efforts by Court to reduce number of pending incomplete admission matters.
On February 1st 2019, the Registrar of the Supreme Court announced it would discontinue the practice of accepting fresh cases which are missing relevant documents and/or annexures. This will very likely to greatly contribute towards continuing the 2018 trend of reducing the number of non-hearable pending cases before the Supreme Court. In particular, it will reduce the number of pending Incomplete Admission Matters, which the Court cannot hear.
In 2018, the number of non-hearable cases decreased by 40%. The Registrar classifies cases that cannot be heard as either Incomplete Admission Matters or Not Ready Regular Hearing Matters. In April there were 13,157 non-hearable cases, whereas by 1st January 2019 there were only 9,419 such cases. See Graph A (data for May 2018 not available).
In contrast, overall pendency increased by 3% in 2018, breaking the 5-year trend, see Graph B. For 2019, the data still suggests that pendency will net decrease, however last year’s performance may indicate that the rate of decrease is slowing down.
Gogoi CJI is likely dissatisfied with the increase in pendency in 2018. He was appointed Chief Justice on October 3rd 2018, taking over from Ret’d Chief Justice Dipak Misra. In his first month in charge, he stated on multiple occasions in public that one of his main aims would be to increase the administrative efficiency of the judiciary. Notably, he has taken suo moto cognisance of judicial vacancies in the lower courts.
Nevertheless, since he has been in charge pendency has increased. Of course, it would not be fair to attribute this increase in pendency to him. Nothing suggests that any of his actions increased pendency. However, he does not have much time to reverse this trend, as he is set to retire in November 2019
One way in which, Gogoi CJI might have an effect on reducing pendency, is with regards to reducing the number of ‘non-hearable’ cases. As aforementioned, the discontinuation of accepting incomplete fresh matters, will very likely further reduce the number of non-hearable cases. In particular, it will reduce the number of Incomplete Admission Matters. Incomplete Admission Matters constitute 98% of all non-hearable matters and 16% of all pending matters.
Data sourced from sci.gov: Monthly Pendency Reports 2018 and Annual Report 20