On June 12, a single judge of the Karnataka High Court, Justice M Nagaprasanna, heard 522 cases listed before him in one day. He commenced the hearing of cases at 10:30 am and continued to hear cases till 5:00 pm, with a lunch break for about an hour in between.
Notably, Justice Nagaprasanna also passed orders in all 522 cases, disposing of 50 of them and issuing interim orders in 200 cases. Notably, over 400 cases were listed before his court a few months ago, and Justice Nagaprasanna had heard all of them. On November 26, 2019, he took oath as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court, and he was appointed as a Permanent Judge on September 8, 2021.
Bangalore-based lawyer Ashish Krupakar (@followdcounsel) shared an anecdote about arguing before Justice Nagaprasanna’s bench. He tweeted, “Justice Nagaprasanna was an extremely hardworking lawyer and now works harder as a Judge. In a matter of mine even before I had opened my file to argue he asked 2 quick questions & granted an interim Order on answering them. The whole process took less than 90 seconds.”
A Twitter user shared Justice Nagaprasanna’s feat on Twitter, tagging ‘Limca Book of Records’ and ‘Guinness World Records’ to take cognisance. A Twitter user wrote, “Dear @LBR_KO and @GWR @GWRHelp can you please take official cognisance of this extra ordinary feat of Indian judiciary by one Justice Nagaprasanna of #KarnatakaHighCourt who heard 522 Cases on Monday, 12th June, 2023 & passed 200 Interim Orders #SupremeCourt #Collegium fyi & n/a.”
Pendency of Cases Before Indian Courts
While hearing the bail plea of an undertrial prisoner in Babu Singh v State of UP, former Supreme Court judge Justice Krishna Iyer said, “Our Justice System even in grave cases suffers from a slow-motion syndrome which is lethal to a ‘fair trial’ whatever the ultimate decision. Speedy justice is a social justice since the community, as a whole, is concerned in the criminal being condignly and finally punished within a reasonable time and the innocent being absolved from the inordinate ordeal of criminal proceedings.”
No one is a stranger to the delays of the Indian judicial system, with about 60.9 lakh cases pending before the various high courts and about 4.37 crore cases pending before district courts in India. With data accessed through the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), about 43,79,490 civil cases, and about 17,09,517 criminal cases are pending before the high courts.
Furthermore, as per the data on the NJDG, about 47,52,207 cases – 34,75,456 civil cases and 12,76,751 criminal cases – pending before the high courts are more than one year old, constituting about 78.05 per cent of total cases. Notably, about 8,85,440 cases pending before the high courts are between one to three years old, constituting about 14.54 per cent of total cases. About 10,79,380 cases are pending before the high courts for three to five years, constituting 17.73 per cent of total cases.
About 13,80,743 cases are pending before the high courts for five to ten years, constituting 22.68 per cent of total cases, while about 11,15,703 cases are pending before the high courts for ten to twenty years, constituting 18.33 per cent of total cases. Furthermore, about 2,18,253 cases are pending before the high courts for twenty to thirty years, constituting 3.59 per cent of total cases, and a significant total of 71,794 cases are pending before the high courts for more than thirty years, constituting 1.18 per cent of the total cases.
Notably, about 3,11,311 cases – 2,61,590 civil cases and 49,721 criminal cases – are pending before the Karnataka High Court. About 55,486 cases are pending before the Karnataka High Court for more than ten years, constituting about 17.82 per cent of the total cases, less than the average across all high courts stands at about 23.1 per cent of total cases. Furthermore, mere 182 cases are pending before the Karnataka High Court for more than twenty years, constituting just about 0.06 per cent of total cases, whereas the average across all high courts stands at about a staggering 4.77 per cent of total cases.