33 lakh! Number of cases in which next hearing date not yet fixed
According to latest data (August 18) by the National Judicial Data Grid, 33,57,575 cases have been defined as ‘unlisted’. Any case for which the next date of hearing has not been assigned is called an undated case.
These unlisted cases amount to 14.98 per cent of the total nearly 3 crore cases pending in Indian courts, right from the Supreme Court to the lower courts. This means that the courts have not yet decided on when these 33,57,575 cases will be taken up for the next hearing.
On June 24, 31,45,059 (or 14.25 per cent of the total pending cases) were categorised as undated cases, a jump of 2,12,516 in two months.
The data says out of the over 33 lakh undated cases, 10,31,701 are civil and 23,25,874 are criminal
Gujarat, according to the data available on the grid, leads with 24.33 per cent undated cases, followed by West Bengal with 15.52 per cent cases. Madhya Pradesh has 14.45 per cent undated cases and Delhi 2.71 per cent. At a recent meeting of the Supreme Court eCommittee, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had suggested introduction of “some sort of incentive” for reducing the number of undated cases.
The eCommittee of the Supreme Court was set up in 2004 to assist the Chief Justice of India in formulating a national policy on computerisation of Indian judiciary and advise on technological, communication and management-related changes.
As the executive and judiciary try to iron out their differences over appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the government believes some of the main factors responsible for pendency of cases in courts are increasing number of state and central legislations, accumulation of first appeals and continuation of ordinary civil jurisdiction in some of the high courts.
The other factors include vacancies of judges, appeals against orders of quasi-judicial forums going to high courts, frequent adjournments and lack of adequate arrangement to monitor, track and bunch cases for hearing.