Court Data

Pendency of Cases at the SC over the Past 5 Years [2017-2021]

Apart from 2017, the total number of pending cases at the SC increased every year from January to December.

In 2021, pendency of cases at the Supreme Court (SC) increased by 7.3%. As of December*, 69,855 cases are pending. In this post, we track the pendency of cases from 2017 to 2021. 

Figure 1 plots the aggregate number of cases in each month from 2017 to 2021. The ‘x’ axis indicates months, and the ‘y’ axis indicates number of cases pending before the SC.

In 2017, the number of pending cases fell drastically. In February,** 62,309 cases were pending, and by December it was 55,089. Between February and May of that year, the pendency of cases steadily declined. The most notable drop was in June, when the Court sat through its summer vacation (May, June) and disposed of over 5000 cases. On August 28th 2017 Former Chief Justice Dipak Misra was appointed. The number of pending cases fell from September (58,272) to October (56,389). 

Figure 1 indicates a minimal increase in pendency in 2018. The year began with 55,088 pending cases, and increased by 1406 cases through the year. The total pending cases in December 2018 was 56,994. 

In 2019, pendency increased from 57,346 cases in January to 59,535 cases in December. 

In January 2020, the aggregate number of pending cases was 59,859. Pendency increased steadily from January to April. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SC in March restricted entry to the Court premises, constituting two Benches to hear ‘extremely urgent matters’. Between March and July, the number of cases filed before the SC significantly reduced, explaining the drop in pendency despite limited hearings. In July, the Court began hearing cases virtually. The aggregate number of pending cases saw a sharp increase from 60,444 in July to 64,426 in December. 

There were 65,046 pending cases in January, gradually increasing to 70,038 in November. The final number of pending cases for December is likely to be published by the SC in January 2022. 

*Pendency for December 2021 was updated last on the 6th.
**The official number of pending cases for January 2017 is not publicly available.