Court Data

June 2024: Vacation Benches of the Supreme Court clear 613 cases in its summer holiday month

Vacation Benches which assembled everyday to hear urgent matters cleared 23 percent of cases instituted in June 2024

In June 2024, both institution and disposal of cases saw the greatest dip in the year so far. The Supreme Court was on its seven-week long summer vacation throughout June 2024, in addition to the two weeks in May and one in July. In June, Vacation Benches disposed of 613 cases. 

Institution refers to the number of cases filed in the Court at any given point. Disposal indicates the number of cases cleared by the Court either by delivering the judgement or final order, or by dismissal.

2643 cases instituted, 613 disposed of 

Figure 1 plots the number of cases instituted and disposed of by the Supreme Court in January, February, March, April, May, and June 2024.


Note: The data for May was collected from the National Judicial Data Grid on 08 July 2024 at 3.53pm.

As seen in Figure 1, the top court received more cases than it could clear in June. Only January and February recorded the clearance of more cases that were filed in a month. 

In January, the Court worked for 20 days where it received 4964 cases and disposed of 5453 cases. In this month, the Court heard seven days of arguments in a seven-judge Constitution Bench case. 

Both institution and disposal numbers dipped slightly in February. 4821 cases were instituted and 5409 were disposed of. Yet, the Court continued to beat institution numbers in February. This was also the month where the Court worked with full sanctioned strength for 21 days. Seven days in February saw Constitution Bench hearings. Out of these, seven-judge Bench cases were heard over four days, and nine-judge bench cases were heard over three. 

In March, the trend of clearing more cases than filed, changed. March saw the lowest numbers of the first quarter of the year with 4656 cases instituted and 3926 disposed of. This can be attributed to the Court’s week-long Holi break. The top court functioned only 15 days that month. Out of these 15 days, a nine-judge Constitution Bench heard arguments for five days.

In April, the Court worked for 19 days. Both institution and disposal figures jumped up, with 5613 cases filed and 4812 cleared. Notably, this was the first month in 2024 so far that the Court substantially heard two nine-judge Constitution Bench cases, across 10 days. This meant that nine judges over 10 days were caught up hearing just one case.

In May, the Court worked for only 13 days before it broke for its seven-week long annual summer vacation on 20 May 2024. During this month, it received 5418 cases (a decrease of 195 from April) and disposed of 3610 (a decrease of 1203 from April). 

June is the first and only full month of summer vacation for the Court. Therefore, both institution and disposal rates expectedly saw an all time low with 2643 cases instituted 613 cases disposed of.

But with 20 Vacation Benches working throughout the holiday period in May, June, and July, the Court reportedly cleared 1170 cases this year—an all time summer vacation high since 2017. 

2024 sees highest number of cases filed in June since 2020

Figure 2 maps the number of cases instituted and disposed of in June since 2020. Data from 2020 to 2023 is sourced from the Annual Reports of the Supreme Court. Month-wise split for previous years is unavailable on the National Judicial Data Grid.

As seen in Figure 2, in June the top court received more cases than it could dispose of in all years except 2020. While 2024 saw the highest number of cases instituted at 2643, 2020 saw the highest number of disposals at 1470 cases. 

The Court returned from its vacation on 8 July 2024, with 84,280 pending cases. With just three working weeks, a now rested bench has its work cut out. 

Note: In our monthly posts tracking the institution and disposal of cases at the top court, we’ve also been tracking the discrepancies in the data available from the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) and the Justice Clock on the Supreme Court’s website. 

We noticed discrepancies in January and April. The numbers matched up for the months of February and March. May saw a slight discrepancy of numbers on both platforms. 

There appears to be a marginal discrepancy in June as well. As mentioned earlier, we collected the data for June on 8 July 2024 at 3.56 pm. At this time, while the NJDG shows an institution of 2643 cases, the Justice Clock showed an institution of 2654 cases (11 more than the NJDG). While the NJDG indicated a disposal of 613 cases, the Justice Clock showed a disposal of 623 cases (10 more than the NJDG).

The Justice Clock is hosted on the web page of the Supreme Court registry. The NJDG, on the other hand, contains data from the Supreme Court, High Courts, and district and taluka courts and is managed by the Department of Justice. We’ve noticed that the migration of data from the Supreme Court to the NJDG is delayed sometimes.