Delay and pendency in courts are one of the most important topics discussed today. There is a dire need to examine the issue in-depth and come up with evidence based policy decisions to tackle the problem. In a bid to analyse these issues in detail, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi started a landmark project named the Zero Pendency Courts Project in subordinate courts in Delhi. The objective of the project was to come up with time lines for disposal of different types of cases and study the various stages through which a case proceeds. To establish these norms, 11 pilot courts with no backlog were chosen and carefully monitored for a period of two years (Jan 2017 to Dec 2018). The report relating to the Zero Pendency Courts Project was released on 3 May 2019 by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. The report can be found on the High Court’s website.
DAKSH has been assisting the Delhi High Court with this project since 2017. DAKSH assisted with building of an application called the Court Log App, which was used for data collection in the project. The app helped in recording the time spent on different hearings, reasons for adjournments and outcome of proceedings by using drop-downs. DAKSH further helped in implementation of the application in the selected courts, data analysis, and drafting of the report.
The report provides an overall methodology of the pilot project and focusses on several key analyses in the back drop of various objectives identified for the project. The report gives time lines to dispose different types of cases, examines various stages in a case, identifies causes for delay and calculates ideal judge strength. The report can help in addressing several key issues in judiciary such as :
Projects like these can play a pivotal role in giving a deeper picture of the workload of courts and the life cycle of a case. Findings from these projects can form the basis for several key policy decisions that can have an impact on reducing backlog of cases. It is important that pilot projects like these be replicated in various states with the aim of improving judicial efficiency and providing timely justice to the citizens.
The report was discussed in a panel discussion titled Piloting Justice on 29 July 2019 in New Delhi