Imagine you are a high-flying lawyer, maybe a senior advocate like Kapil Sibal, with a fancy vocabulary, a solid repute and a knack for winning cases and understanding the ways of the law of the land which would make Atticus Finch proud.
But when you walk into the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Ranjan Gogoi, be prepared to be flummoxed, much like Kapil Sibal and a host of other senior advocates.
“Does this case fall in the 93 per cent or in the remaining 7 per cent?”
This is the question which greets all poor lawyers who stand before Justice Gogoi. And you don't need a degree in law to know that this question probably does NOT relate to the legality of the case itself.
A bunch of lawyers, from Delhi and Bangalore, under Supreme Court advocate K V Dhananjay, decided to research Supreme Court judgments from January 1 to December 31, 2014.
And out of 884 judgments delivered, a mere 7% or just 64 cases, pertain to any substantive constitutional issues, the primary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
And the remaining 93% were apparently routine appeals from various High Courts.
It is true that the Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal in the country. But as Justice T S Thakur puts it, " many cases reach the court, like Rs 4,000 cheque bounce cases and anticipatory bail matters, that shouldn’t reach this court. "
The Indian Supreme Court judges are some of the most burdened in any judicial system, anywhere. And while this is reflective of a deeper problem with our judicial system, the greater tragedy comprises the hundreds of publicly relevant cases which remain lost in the pile of relatively unimportant cases.