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A Quantitative Analysis of the Indian Supreme Court's Workload

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (Forthcoming)

38 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2012 Last revised: 13 Mar 2014

Nick Robinson

Yale Law School; Harvard Law School, Program on the Legal Profession; Center for Policy Research (India)

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Date Written: December 13, 2012


This article analyzes the Indian Supreme Court’s docket in detail from 1993 to 2011. It also draws on available data to describe more broadly the workings of the Court before 1993. The article explains how deficiencies in the way data is currently collected and categorized by the Court presents challenges in developing a full picture of its workload. Using this unique, albeit admittedly imperfect, data set, it then analyzes the Supreme Court’s caseload by geographic region of appeal, subject-matter category, petition type, and other available classifications. Amongst other findings, this analysis shows the Court is disproportionately accessed by those close to Delhi and with more resources and that the Supreme Court’s multiplicity of benches and cases may be undercutting the following of precedent in the Indian judicial system.

Keywords: Indian Supreme Court, workload, case management, backlog, docket, statistics

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Nick, A Quantitative Analysis of the Indian Supreme Court's Workload (December 13, 2012). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: or

Nick Robinson (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Harvard Law School, Program on the Legal Profession ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Center for Policy Research (India) ( email )

Dharma Marg
New Delhi, 110022

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