India, March 1 -- The justice system entered the year 2020 in ill-health and chronic co-morbidities of infrastructure both human and physical, inadequate representation, a historical burden of judicial pendency, and prison overcrowding. And while it may take some time to assess the impact of the pandemic on pre-existing deficits, some early projections can be made.

For instance, according to National Judicial Data Grid there was a 66% drop in cases filed between April-June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Even if half of these cases are filed now that the courts have begun functioning, in the next few months, the pent up demand added to the already pending 43 million cases will pose a near insurmountable challenge to the courts....