Report No. 120
11. This would, of course, raise the question of the ultimate number of Judges. The Commission recommends that by the year 2000, India should command at least the ratio that the U.S. commanded in 1981, i.e., 107 Judges per million of Indian population. The inter se distribution of the enhanced number among various cadres State-wise would ordinarily proceed on the basis of population in each State and the institution of cases.
12. Appendix I (1) to this Report sets out the expenditure incurred on Judges, staff and other miscellaneous items on the Supreme Court of India for the year 1984-85. Appendix I (2) gives similar information with regard to all the High Courts, Appendix I (3) sets out the total tax receipts of each State for the year 1981-82 and the expenditure incurred on State judiciary. It will appear at a glance that expenditure, on, judiciary forms an infinitesimally small portion of tax receipts of each State which again includes receipts from court fees, which must at any rate be exclusively spent on administration of justice. It is time to re-think whether expenditure on administration of justice can ever be called non-plan expenditure. At some point of time, this will have to be dealt with. But even on a traditional interpretation, our recommendation will not raise expenditure so high as to be grudged.
13. It might be said that it is too gross a quantitative expansion and that it is far too expensive. Both these objections are unfounded but, in fact, it costs the nation far more to maintain the present ratio of Judges to its population. The Commission is not able to precisely quantify the costs but these costs can be easily quantified under the following heads:
(a) the total costs to the exchequer by stay, orders of public revenue measures per each decade;
(b) the human rights and dignity costs to people in custody assessed notionally in terms of the right to compensation for unauthorised detention at Rs. 50,000 per unit;
(c) see the costs of litigation both to State and private parties;
(d) the overall costs of maintenance of law and order; and
(e) all declining respect for the rule of law.
14. There are ways and means of even quantifying what appear initially as intangible costs but when this kind of exercise is done, it will become clear that the nation pays far more exorbitant costs through the lack of adequate manpower planning than a reasonable investment in the judicial services.
15. As to the possible accusation that the working out of the ratio of Judges strength per million of Indian population is a gross measure, the Commission wishes to say that this is one clear criterion of manpower planning. If, legislative representation can be worked out, as pointed out earlier, on the basis of population and if other services of the State-bureaucracy, police, etc.-can also be similarly planned, there is no reason at all for the non-extension of this principle to the judicial services. It must also be frankly stated that while population may be a demographic unit, it is also a democratic unit. In other words, we are talking of citizens with democratic rights including the right to access to justice which it is the duty of the State to provide.
16. An additional criterion that can be used to quantify the much deeded judge strength is either or both the litigation rate (i.e., the number of cases and petitions instituted per annum since independence) or the rate of pendency. National thinking, coupled with the present position of inflow and pendency in the Supreme Court of India, is based on these measures. Taking either as a measure, it can safely be estimated on the conservative side, that you would need a minimum increase in the Judge strength from the present 7,675 to 40,357, increasing the ratio of judges per million of population from 10.5 to 50.
17. This investment may look a more attractive proposition than the one that we recommend, namely, a planned overall increase in the ratio of judges per one million of population. But if both the litigation and pendency rates are computed bearing in mind the next 20 years, the overall order of investment and the nature of manpower planning would not be substantially different. The Commission submits this report as interim first report on the issue of reorganisation of the Indian Judiciary. Its second report, proceeding on this basis, will deal with the method of judicial appointments; its third report will deal with the problem of resource allocation for bureaucratic and infrastructural services to judicial administration including the use of computer technology for its modernisation and the fourth report will explore ways and means for recomfiguration of the legal profession.
18. It is very much hoped by the Commission that this first interim report will invoke sufficient parliamentary, public and specialists discussion in order to assist a viable and comprehensive manpower planning for the Indian Judiciary.
Mrs. V.S. Rama Devi,
Dated: 31st July, 1987.