Over 3.5 Crore Cases Pending Across Courts in India, Little Change in Numbers Since 2014

The strength of court staff members including judicial officers, across courts, has not increased very much since 2013.

New Delhi: There are 59,867 cases pending in the Supreme Court, and 44.75 lakh cases in various high courts. At the district and subordinate court levels, the number of pending cases stand at a shocking 3.14 crore, said the Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday.

The data is as of November 2019.

The numbers have barely changed since December 2014. At that time, the number of cases pending were 62,791 in the Supreme Court, 41.53 lakh in high courts and 2.62 crore in lower courts.

One way of clearing this enormous backlog could be by filling up all sanctioned posts so that there is enough manpower available to complete the work.

Also read: Why Courts and Tribunals Are Still Playing Catch-Up With Backlog

But the strength of court staff including judicial officers, across courts, has not increased very much since 2013. In 2013, there was a working strength of 15,115 members of staff, and in 2019, it has increased to 17,342. This is up against an actual sanctioned strength of 19,518 and 23,566 respectively. The sanctioned strength has drastically increased whereas the working strength has not kept up with it.

For heinous crimes such as crimes against women and children, family and matrimonial disputes, there are 704 fast track courts as of September 2019. The government also has approved a plan for 1,023 fast track courts for crimes against children under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Court infrastructure

Successive governments have tried to build infrastructure for judicial officers in lower courts and since 1993, Rs 7,453 crore has been sanctioned. Only 54% of it has been released to various states, however.

This money was meant for and used for the construction of new court halls. The number of court halls has thus increased from 15,818 in 2014 to 17,103 in 2019. As many as 2,888 more are under construction.

Computerisation in district and subordinate courts has also increased from 13,672 courts to 16,845 courts. Important information on judicial proceedings and decisions can be viewed on the National Judicial Data Grid. Currently, the status of over 12.23 crore cases and 10.26 orders are available there.