The National Judicial Policy Making Committee has highlighted data which signifies the need to spread out the workload of the judiciary and make it possible for the inordinate backlog to be cleared. With latest figures showing that over two million cases are currently pending in the superior, high and district level courts, the state needs to provide solutions urgently and allow for the dispensation of justice for all.

After all, these are not mere numbers; two million unresolved cases mean real people that have approached the state to exercise an inalienable right, and have to continue spending their money, time and effort until the file is finally closed. The superior judiciary has led by example and prioritised cases of importance such as those concerning human rights abuses, but it is clear that the entire system is heavily overburdened.

The judiciary is already working on overdrive, judges often work in their summer holidays to get some extra work done. Hearing a case faster is not possible either; with the bench having to consider all available evidence before announcing a decision. The practice of the Supreme Court to prioritise cases is the only option left for short-term gains, and it is one that must be spread to the lower levels as well.

The data does not indicate how many of these cases are frivolous petitions that take up lengthy periods of the court’s valuable time. Cases that look to be more urgent should be heard first. In the long-term, one possible option is to increase the number of courts, but this is easier said than done. More courts need more judges, and having an experienced member of the legal fraternity ascend to the level of judge takes years of experience; not to mention the many other skills required to judge cases impartially. Implementing training required for capable judges to be produced in greater amounts will take years, if not decades. But this must become a constant effort; case-load should be such that judges can take the time to provide quality justice. The only way to achieve that is by looking towards the future now.