Supreme Court saves 1.5 crore paper sheets a year after shift from legal to A4 size paper

The Supreme Court of India’s decision to shift all judicial filings from legal paper to A4 size paper with printing allowed on both sides has saved approximately 3 crore paper sheets in two years.

This is a conservative estimate based on an average filing of 41,000 fresh matters a year with 200 pages per paper book, sources told Bar & Bench.

The decision to shift from legal paper with one side printing to A4 size paper with double side printing was taken in April 2020 after a Committee of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Hemant Gupta recommended the same.

The initiative to constitute the Committee was taken by then Chief Justice of India SA Bobde as a measure towards conserving the environment by saving paper.

The Committee of Justices Bhat and Gupta initially faced opposition from some quarters, but in April 1, 2020, the Court decided to go through with the decision and mandated that filing should be on A4 size papers.

Legal size paper has dimensions of 35.56 cm x 21.59 cm and is roughly 23 per cent bigger than A4 size paper, which has dimensions of 29.7 cm x 21 cm.

Besides, reducing the margin and line spacing requirements and bringing down the copies of petitions required from 4 to 2 have also contributed to the saving more than 50 lakh pages a year.

Many High Courts have also moved from legal to A4 size paper for filings. These include the High Courts of Calcutta, Tripura, Kerala, Delhi, Allahabad, and Bombay.

Interestingly, three law students from an organisation called Whistle for Public Interest (WHIP) had written to then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in October 2019 asking that steps be taken so that A4 size paper is used uniformly across courts.

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