Rising number of legislations behind case backlogs: Prasad

Government on Monday blamed ‘increasing number’ of state and central legislations, vacancies of judges and adjournments as some of the main factors responsible for pendency of over three crore cases in various courts across the country. ‘Increasing number of state and central legislations, accumulation of first appeals, continuation of ordinary civil jurisdiction in some of the high courts, vacancies of judges...indiscriminate use of writ jurisdiction...are some of the main factors responsible for pendency of cases in courts,’ law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

According to the latest data available, while 63,843 cases are pending in the Supreme Court as on 1 May, 44.62 lakh cases were pending in the 24 high courts of the country at the end on 2013. At the end of 2013, 2.68 crore cases were pending in the various subordinate courts. The total comes to about 3.13 crore cases. He said against the approved strength of 906, the 24 High Courts were functioning with a working strength of 636 judges – a shortfall of 270.

Prasad said while disposal of pending cases in various courts is within the domain of the judiciary, to create an enabling environment for judges, government has set up National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms. The major initiative under the mission relates to infrastructure development for subordinate judiciary and computerisation of courts.

‘In order to reduce government litigation in courts, the central government has encouraged the states to notify their litigation policies which contain provisions for weeding out infructuous cases and promote dispute resolution through alternative mechanisms,’ he said.
The Centre is also looking into the areas prone to excessive litigation for adopting suitable policy and legislative measures to curb unwanted litigation, he said.

The Allahabad High Court has more than 10.4 lakh pending cases while the Supreme Court has 63,843 cases pending, the Lok Sabha was informed today. The Allahabad High Court had 10,05,527 pending cases in 2011, 10,08,679 in 2012 and 10,43,398 cases in 2013. The rate of pending cases in Calutta, Bombay and Madras High Courts was also high as compared to other high courts in the country.

The Madras High Court had 4,73,736 pending cases in 2011, but the figure rose to 5,00,374 cases and shot up to 5,57,479 cases in 2013. The Bombay High Court too had some 3,62,885 pending cases in 2011, but the figure declined to 3,41,969 cases and marginally increased in 2013 to 3,49,837 cases.

Interestingly, the Calcutta High Court saw a decline in pending cases. In 2011, it had 3,47,154 pending cases. It marginally increased to 3,62,131 cases, but declined to 2,80,006 pending cases.
The Supreme Court too had 66,349 cases pending in 2013. In 2011, the figure of pending cases was 58,519, but increased to 66,692. Till May 1 this year, there were 63,843 cases pending in the apex court. At the lower courts level, Uttar Pradesh stood first in list of pending cases followed by Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat. The state had 56,04,985 in 2013, 57,92,331 cases in 2012 and 57,98,048 cases in 2011.

In terms of vacant posts in lower courts as compared to its sanctioned strength, Gujarat topped the list followed by Bihar, Punjab and Haryana. In Gujarat, the sanctioned strength of judges was 1,958 as compared to the actual strength of 1,240 while 718 posts remained vacant. There were 616 and 398 vacant posts in Bihar and Punjab and Haryana courts, respectively.
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