Pending court cases

Wheels of justice

Print edition : February 16, 2018
The judicial system remains bogged down in millions of cases despite a rise in the sanctioned strength of judges and increased computerisation of courts.

PENDENCY of cases remains high in the Supreme, High, and District and Subordinate Courts in spite of the government's moves aimed at higher disposal of cases, a rise in the sanctioned strength of judges and greater allocation of funds for the computerisation of courts.

According to an official release, the pendency of cases in the Supreme Court fell from 62,000 cases in 2014 to 58,000 in 2017. A quick look at the data shows that the number of cases pending in the Supreme Court at the end of the year has remained above 59,000 in the past four years.

In High Courts, the backlog was 41.53 lakh at end-2014 and fell to 38.70 lakh the follwoing year, before rising again to 40.15 lakh at end-2016. The situation in District and Subordinate Courts is more worrisome: pendency has been on the rise, from 2.64 crore at end-2014 to 2.70 crore at end-2015 and 2.74 crore at end-2016.

The National Lok Adalat in July 2017 disposed of 9.97 lakh cases with a total settlement amount of Rs.2,925 crore, according to the government figures.

In 2017, five judges were appointed to the Supreme Court and 75 to High Courts, while 28 additional judges were made permanent.

The government's release of funds for the computerisation of courts has zoomed in the past three financial years, rising from Rs.9.89 crore in 2014-15 to Rs.212.23 crore in 2015-16 and Rs.357.50 crore in 2016-17. In the current financial year, Rs.231.40 crore has been released so far.