Abhinav Sekhri


More than two crore cases are pending across trial courts in India today, and a majority of these are criminal trials. Despite legislative innovation in 1973 designed to achieve speedy case disposition and the introduction of plea-bargaining in 2005, the rise in case pendency has continued unabated. This paper argues that while reform efforts have primarily focused on enhancing supply-side factors more judges, more courts, more time it is clear that such an approach has proved insufficient for dealing with the problem. Together with this, a closer look must be had at how the Indian criminal process is designed. This helps us appreciate how various facets of the system engender, if not promote, delays. For the State to realistically hope to contain delays in the trial courts, appreciating and resolving these design flaws is as necessary if not more as increased government spending on the judiciary and imposing time-limits on litigants.

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