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30-year case backlog increases 61% in 2 years | India News

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NEW DELHI: Vacancies for judges in the courts have been a perennial problem for the Indian judiciary and so has the huge backlog of cases. The Covid-19 pandemic has further accentuated this with the accumulation of cases from 30 years ago that increased by 61% in the last two years across the country, from 65,695 in December 2018 to 1,05,560 until January 2021 .
The subordinate and district judiciary in the six states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat and Orissa accounted for 98% of more than one lakh of these pending cases over three decades. The oldest of these cases dates back to 1951, according to the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG). Almost 2,000 of them have been pending for more than 50 years.
Overall, total pending cases in the subordinate judiciary increased from Rs 2.92 crore in December 2018 to Rs 3.72 crore at the end of January 2021, most of them added during the pandemic year . Most of these are criminal cases (73%), almost similar to the number of underprivileged population in our prisons across the country.
The Niti Aayog, in its 2018 strategy document “New India @ 75”, had stated that at the current rate of resolution of cases in our courts, it will take more than 324 years to eliminate the backlog. Then the processing was 2.9 million cases.
Time view: The operation of lower courts often escapes scrutiny. But they are the places where the overwhelming majority of Indians involved in litigation seek justice. The clear message from these statistics is that we need more judges. There is also a need to improve witness and hearing management. A creative combination of all of these factors can reduce litigation burden.

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