Law & Legal Studies

Why India, with its huge backlog of unresolved cases, needs robo-judges

Why India, with its huge backlog of unresolved cases, needs robo-judges

With India’s staggering case backlog and limited working days, AI offers a potential solution by working independently of holidays and accelerating procedural stages.


Apoorv Agarwal, Assistant Lecturer, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


Herbert Simon in 1965 made an early prediction that “Machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do”. Not quite, not yet. This was far-fetched and overly optimistic for 1965, but for 2024 not so much. 

AI in recent times has generated many promises and prophecies. From the startling incident of Russian President Vladimir Putin being questioned live by his very own AI ‘Double’ on the aspect of AI dangers to Punjab and Haryana High Court judge using AI (ChatGPT), post-human reasoning, to understand a wider perspective on the aspect of granting of bail when cruelty is involved (Jaswinder Singh v. State of Punjab), AI is the center of discussion. 

AI, without an iota of doubt, has several potentials for streamlining the judicial system but does it have the potential to replace human judges? AI can process information and perform tasks much faster than humans. For example, AI algorithms can analyze large datasets, perform complex calculations, and execute repetitive tasks at speeds that far exceed human capabilities. However, whether integration of AI into the justice administration would be a robust and futuristic move considering the backlog of cases in India? 

The judicial administration system in India is grappling with a formidable challenge, primarily stemming from the alarming judge-to-population ratio. With a sanctioned strength of 25,628 judges, these justice torchbearers find themselves overburdened by a staggering 43 million pending cases. The Niti Ayog Strategy paper, published five years ago painted a disconcerting picture, estimating a daunting 324 years to clear the existing backlog. As India approaches its centennial year of independence, the situation has only worsened, demanding urgent and innovative solutions. 

One significant contributor to the backlog is the limited number of working days allocated to the various tiers of the judiciary. Currently, the Supreme Court of India operates for 193 days in a year, high courts for 210 days, and trial courts for 245 days. This restricted timeframe exacerbates the challenges of addressing the multitude of cases, leading to delays and a growing backlog.

Published in: South Asia Monitor

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