The Union Law Ministry has revealed startling figures on the pendency of cases in the country's district and subordinate courts while responding to queries raised by the MPs in Lok Sabha.
As of July 24, there are over 4 crore pending cases, with approximately 1 lakh cases remaining unresolved for over 30 years.
It was further revealed that Uttar Pradesh faces the highest backlog, with over 1 crore cases pending.
Uttar Pradesh also leads in the number of vacancies for judges in lower courts, with around 1,200 seats remaining unfilled in the district and subordinate courts.
For the high courts, the situation is no less concerning, with a whopping 60 lakh cases pending across the country.
Allahabad High Court emerges as the biggest contributor to the backlog, accounting for approximately 10 lakh pending cases. Following closely are the high courts of Bombay, Rajasthan, and Madras.
Surprisingly, Allahabad High Court not only tops the list in pending cases but also holds the highest number of vacancies for judges.
The court has 65 seats awaiting appointment of judges, contributing to the overall 341 vacant positions in High Courts nationwide.
In response to queries regarding the relationship between pending cases and judge's vacancies, the government clarified that while vacancies are factors, they are not the sole cause for the increased pendency.
Several other factors contribute, including the availability of physical infrastructure and supporting court staff, complexity of facts, nature of evidence, cooperation of stakeholders such as the bar, investigation agencies, witnesses, and litigants, and proper application of rules and procedures.
In regard to the Supreme Court, the ministry said that, as of July 2023, approximately 69,000 cases are pending.
The apex court currently has two vacant seats, which could potentially affect its ability to handle the backlog effectively.
As per the information provided by the Supreme Court, as of March 21, 2023, the cases pending for more than 30 to 50 years are 22; 30 to 40 years are 20; and 40 to 50 years are 2. No cases are pending for 10 and 15 years. (IANS/PG)