Court Data

80,194 cases remain pending at the Supreme Court at the end of March 2024

In a month where the Court worked for just 15 days, pendency increased by over 400 cases

As of 1 April 2024, the Supreme Court had 80,194 pending cases. The Court worked for 15 days in March 2024, and cleared 3926 cases. This means that the courts average disposal was about 262 cases per working day.

Figure 1. Shows the number of pending cases in each month in 2024. There were 79,766 pending cases at the end of February. January closed with 80,529 pending cases. 

Despite the fact that the Court only worked for 15 days, and that it disposed of 1483 less cases than it did last month, the number of pending matters increased only by 428 cases from February.

Throughout March, the Supreme Court functioned in full capacity of its sanctioned strength. This means that on average, each judge cleared about eight cases. As the Supreme Court does not sit in single judge Benches, this figure merely offers a sense of judge-wise output. 

Figure two below plots the number of pending Constitution Bench cases of five-, seven- and nine-judge benches. 

A total of 50 Constitution Bench cases remained as March closed, with 616 connected matters. The Court delivered one decision in a seven-judge Bench case, and heard two Constitution Bench matters in the first two weeks. This was followed by miscellaneous hearings in the third week of March, in preparation for the Holi break. 

Seven-judge Constitution Bench pendency dropped by one case when a Bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud unanimously held that lawmakers do not enjoy parliamentary immunity under Articles 105(2) and 194(2) for acts of bribery.

For five of the 15 days, a nine-judge Constitution Bench heard arguments on the demarcation of power between Union and states to impose tax and royalty on mines and minerals. On three different days, a five-judge Bench heard updates on the State Bank of India’s compliance with its order to disclose all details in the case regarding the electoral bonds scheme

We’ve seen before in our analysis of yearly pendency in 2023, 2022 and 2021 that pendency shoots up during the Supreme Court’s annual summer vacation. In light of this, April will prove crucial for pendency numbers. This is the last month the top Court will function for a full month before the Court enters its summer vacation in the third week of May. The court also functions in April with one vacant seat following the retirement of Justice Aniruddha Bose in its second week.