Special Leave Petitions in Supreme Court 2001-2011

Uploaded: 1 month ago; Last updated: 1 month ago ; Date of Publication: 2020

All India

2001 - 2011


Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By)

This article and dataset presents an empirical analysis of the Indian Supreme Court’s discretionary appellate jurisdiction (called the ‘special leave jurisdiction’ or SLP). This research was supported by Azim Premji University and Australian Research Council


Research Report

Based on an analysis of 1100 randomly selected cases spread over 11 years, it argues that the ever-expanding docket under this supposedly exceptional jurisdiction has squeezed the Court’s ability to function as a constitutional court. It shows that the admissibility of special leave petitions has a statistically significant relationship with the presence of a ‘senior advocate’ during the admissions hearing. The paper concludes with some reform proposals. In particular, it stresses the need for an institutional separation of the appellate and constitutional functions of the Supreme Court, either as two separate courts, or as two divisions within a single Supreme Court. It also makes certain suggestions towards reducing or eliminating the potential docket-distorting role of senior advocates over admission decisions — either by taking admission decisions on civil SLPs largely based on written briefs alone or barring senior advocates from appearing in oral admission hearings for civil SLPs entirely.