The Problem Of Court Congestion: Evidence From Indian Lower Courts
This paper explores the problem of court congestion in Indian lower courts. We use several measures to capture court congestion. These include: caseloads per capita and per judge, the number of cases older than a year per capita and per judge, and congestion rates calculated as the ratio of cases older than a year to cases disposed. We conclude that the Indian state judiciaries differ with respect to the nature and the level of congestion. We can also identify the reasons why some judiciaries are more congested than others. The results show that the large number of judges per capita is negatively related to congestion rates, while judgeship vacancies have a positive effect on caseloads per judge. Court productivity captured by the clearance rates has a significant and negative effect on both caseloads and congestion rates and seems to be crucial for the effectiveness of congestion-reduction programs. Finally, judiciaries with lower litigation rates display a relatively better performance with respect to current caseloads, but are not efficient in addressing the ï¿½realï¿½ backlogs of cases pending for more than a year.
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