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If a phenomenal increase in litigation is a sign of an extraordinary growth of awareness among the citizens about their rights, an unreasonable delay in the administration of justice will certainly be seen as constituting an unconscionable denial of justice. However, people often criticize the judiciary for the delay in disposing of the cases. I feel that the accusation is made without the knowledge of the problems faced by the institution.  The imperative for clearing the burgeoning judicial backlog, and hence for more judges and Courts needs to be fully understood.

It has to be seen that while there are more than 2 crore cases pending in courts all over India, on an average, State Governments were setting apart only 0.78 percent of their annual plan outlay for the judiciary. The demand made by the institution over a period of time to increase the number of courts and the judges strength has fallen in deaf ears of the execute. The Supreme Court of India had repeatedly expressed many times that an independent and efficient judicial system is one of the basic structures of our Constitution and that if sufficient number of judges are not appointed, justice would not be available to the people, thereby undermining the basic structure.

It is to be seen that the root cause for delay in dispensation of justice in our country is poor judge-population ratio. There are just about 11 judges per million population in India comparing to 107 in U.S.A, 75 in Canada, 41 in Australia and 51 in the U.K. One has to consider the infrastructural facilities available to Indian Judiciary, compared to the countries aforesaid. Particularly the subordinate courts in India are running in a pathetic condition without any basic infrastructural facilities. One major factor is the delay in filling up of vacancies in many of these courts.

I feel that without overhauling the problems on a war footing, the delay in disposing of the backlog of case is indispensable. 

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Category Constitutional Law, Other Articles by - Prakash Yedhula