Monthly Changes in Pendency at the Supreme Court (2021)
We discuss the rate of change in pendency in each month of 2021.
In another pandemic-affected year, pendency at the Supreme Court increased by 7.3% between January and December 2021. In this post, we discuss the percentage increase or decrease in pendency from one month to the next. A monthly breakdown enables us to understand the effect of factors such as court holidays and judicial appointments on pendency.
The change in pendency per month is determined by a combination of two factors- the rate of which new cases are filed before the Court, and the rate at which the Court disposes of pending cases.
Figure 1 tracks the percentage changes in pendency through 2021. The X-axis indicates months and the Y-axis indicates the change in percentage.
Figure 1 indicates that the Court had limited the increase in pendency between January and April. Three new virtual courtrooms were introduced in February and physical hearings partially resumed in March. Pendency did not increase by more than 1% between any two months of this quarter.
Pendency rose notably by 1.2% between May and June. This coincides with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court was forced to return to online hearings and advance its summer vacation. Figure 1 shows that the effects of the second wave on monthly changes in pendency lingered until August.
In the final quarter of 2021, nine new judges joined the Court. The Court also resumed physical hearings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The monthly increase in pendency in this quarter stayed below 0.5%. The Court even managed a marginal decrease in pendency in September and November.
A potential third-wave looms large over the Court as it enters the new year. We will continue to track how it affects the Court’s functioning and pendency.
* The data for December 2021 is yet to be released by the Supreme Court.