Pendency of cases in India

Overall pending court cases, as per the National Judicial Data Grid:

Total pending cases in India: 40,787,945

Of which civil cases: 10,658,115, of which approx.75% are older than 1 year.

Of which criminal cases: 30,129,830, of which approx.75% are older than 1 year.

Pending with Supreme Court: As on July 1, 2022: 72,062

As of Sep.15, 2021, in High Courts of India, 21% cases have been pending for over 10 years and 41% cases have been pending for five years or longer. And, as of Sep.15, 2021, in subordinate courts, 21% cases has been pending for over 10 years and 25% cases has been pending for at least five years. (Source: As per PRS Legislative Research).

Environment related cases pending in Indian Courts:

An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment found that Indian courts took between 9-33 years to clear a backlog of cases for environmental violations. Starting with 2018, close to 45,000 cases were pending for trial and another 35,000 cases were added in that year. More than 90% of cases were pending for trial in five of seven major environmental laws. While fines could theoretically help with faster redress, large environmental fines will continue to be contested in courts, adding to the prevailing practice of tardy justice.

Supreme Court on pending cases in commercial courts of U.P.

Pendency of Commercial Cases in the State of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.): Supreme Court asks the U.P. Government to consider the proposal made by the Allahabad High Court to create additional commercial courts in four districts. Click here for its order.

ADR Mechanism

The 129th Law Commission of India Report recommends courts to refer disputes for mediation compulsorily.

Atleast 1/3rd of the total cases (taking all civil cases) can be resolved using mediation / alternative dispute resolution mechanism. No data for success of mediation is available in India and hence if one considers 50% as success rate, then also 1/6th of total civil cases could get resolved within a span of a month, as mediation usually takes 3 sittings and if parties are desirous of settling it, this is no magic / over enthusiasm. This is striking considering data of penance cases for over 5 years at approx.41% in High Courts and 25% in subordinate courts (as stated supra).

Parties mainly opt for court annexed-mediation, for which the respective High Courts have their own set of Rules. Private mediation is less prevalent in India due to no legislation and hence limitation period not excluded. Pragmatic approach under the circumstances, is to initiate litigation in court and then opt fro court annexed mediation.