The backlog in SC has decreased over the past seven months



Despite five Supreme Court justice vacancies, the wait at the Supreme Court has decreased as it has decided 2,724 cases in the past seven months.

The order backlog which stood at 53,964 at January 31, 2022 has now been reduced to 51,240.

The current complement of Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court is 12 against the sanctioned complement of 17, as no new justices have been appointed since February.

According to the latest report, out of 1,691 cases scheduled for hearing, a total of 1,261 cases were decided from August 22 to September 2. Likewise, it has been found that the elimination rate is higher than the institution of cases in the last 15 days. .

It may be mentioned here that under the tenure of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, who is otherwise facing simmering controversies over the issue of elevating High Court judges to the highest court, the expectation of business has been drastically reduced.

This contrasts with the terms of his predecessors under which the backlog has only piled up.

Amid the chorus of lawyers questioning the composition of the benches to hear high-profile cases, the CJP has earned accolades for maintaining discipline in the benches to hear mainstream cases. As part of its efforts to clear the backlog, the CJP has also notably refused to take advantage of its summer vacation this year.

“The Cogs of Justice”

“The wheels of justice turn slowly but they creak exceedingly well,” goes the proverbial expression. The maxim remains a terse narration of the pending case – which remains the greatest challenge for the Supreme Court, steadily increasing over the past two decades.

According to the 2021 annual report of the SC, 17,370 cases were pending in 2002 and the number has now reached 51,240, which means that around 200% of the cases have risen to the Supreme Court.

As of December 31, 2013, the Superior Court backlog increased from 20,517 to 53,560 as of December 31, 2021. The annual increase in the backlog ranged from 1,087 in 2014 to 7,203 in 2021.

However, there has been a silver lining as the last seven months have seen a drop in pending cases for the first time since December 31, 2013.

Currently, half of the pending cases are civil in nature while 2,900 prison petitions are awaiting a verdict from the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the wait for criminal cases has been reduced during former CJP Asif Saeed Khosa’s tenure.

However, the data shows that the expectation of criminal cases is also increasing.

A lawyer, who is appearing on behalf of the state to argue the jail petitions, told The Express Tribune that prisoners’ heirs are approaching them to quickly fix the jail petitions. But it has been learned that a period of nearly three to four years is needed to settle prison petitions in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the new judicial year will start on September 12 and the CJP Bandial is expected to discuss the court’s performance in its mandate during the full court referral. He might as well reveal a new action plan to reduce addiction next year.

We learn that the 9th two-day Judicial Conference 2022 will be held from September 23 to 23 at the premises of the SC.


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