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Q. Routine appeals and issues: comment on impact of ever increasing routine appeals in higher courts.
Apr 05, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :


The Indian judiciary is facing various issues like shortage of judges, inadequate infrastructure and resource constraints etc. In recent times it has been witnessed that too much time of the Supreme Court is consumed by mundane cases like the rights and interests of political parties.


  • The large number of civil and criminal cases pending before Supreme Court, apart from appeals from various tribunals and authorities.
  • As various cases of routine appeals have increased burden of Supreme Court and it has affected primary role of highest judiciary.  
  • Even recently a two-judge Bench has observed that routine appeals may result in the obstruction of the constitutional role assigned to the highest court.


  • Recent times India has witnessed increasing tendency among litigants to seek special leave to appeal against any order or decision of the high courts and tribunals.
  • The provision for statutory appeals against orders of various tribunals. For instance, the Electricity Act, and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2000, provide for direct appeals to the Supreme Court against orders of appellate tribunals. 
  • Similarly the power to grant special leave is one that is meant to be used sparingly, in practice judges in Supreme Court are using liberally.


  • These routine appeals have impact on the time and number of judges devoted to hearing matters of constitutional importance. 
  • In recent times some major decisions involving interpretation of the Constitution were delivered by two-judge Benches, whereas such significant questions ought to have been decided by at least a five-judge Bench.
  • For example, the verdict reversing the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexuality and the judgment upholding criminal defamation are two examples. 


  • As suggested by law commission it is better to have a Constitution Bench in Delhi, with four Cassation Benches in different regions.
  • Similarly judiciary must use the power to grant special leave very cautiously.
  • Similarly law commission must examine (apex court has asked to do so) whether allowing such direct statutory appeals is affecting primary role of Supreme Court.


People in India rely on Supreme Court to play a dual role, as a constitutional court that decides questions of national importance, and as the final arbiter of all disputes. But huge numbers of cases are pending before apex court. Hence there is an urgent need to bring reforms in Indian judiciary.

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