SC seeks to Incentivize Super performer Judges

In March 2024, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud stated the Supreme Court is devising an objective framework to recognize “super performer” trial court judges across India. This aims to motivate those efficiently clearing massive case backlogs through additional incentives amidst a growing pileup.

Coping With Over 4.5 Crore Pending Cases 

Trial courts in India currently grapple with staggering pendency exceeding 4.5 crore cases. Against over 19 lakh fresh case filings per month, an estimated 20,000 judges dispose nearly 13 lakh cases.

The chronic gap causes litigation delays stretching years, denying citizens timely justice. Without interventions, the backlog may take decades to clear solely by appointing more judges under existing productivity.

Need to Incentivize High Performers

The Supreme Court realized that differentiated incentives are vital to motivate proactive judges who strive for higher disposal rates and case clearance compared to their peers. Continued equal treatment despite individual variations in effort, approach and productivity disincentivizes star performers.

During a recent nationwide district judiciary conference, CJI Chandrachud stressed superlative judges cannot be equated to modest or underperforming ones when tackling pendency. Reward frameworks recognizing efforts could inspire more judges to emulate the stars among them.

Potential Graded Parameters 

While details remain pending, parameters under consideration for identifying star performers is likely to include:

– Disposal rates and backlog reduction metrics

– Judgment quality on legal soundness, clarity, analysis depth etc.

– Courtroom administration like timeliness, decorum, transparency

– Initiative taking, work ethic and diligence

– Handling complex, sensitive and bold cases amidst external pressures

Additional Benefits

As CJI Chandrachud suggested, Supreme court is considering that high performers may be granted additional benefits over regular pay, promotions and postings.

In summary, the SC’s latest push to formally recognize and reward high achieving trial court judges – the real bulwark against civil case pendency – aims to inspire a culture of excellence across India’s lower judiciary. By linking performance to inventives objectively, the proposed mechanism gives higher purpose to those making deepest backlog dents.

Recent announcements

The Supreme Court of India, earlier ruled against automatic vacation of stay orders granted by a lower court or high court after six months in civil and criminal cases.
The five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud overturned the 2018 judgment on the automatic vacation of stay orders and emphasised that timeline for case disposal can only be fixed in exceptional circumstances.




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