Pending cases in courts

TNN Bureau. Updated: 4/2/2022 11:12:59 AM Edit and Opinion

Jammu and Kashmir Courts seem to be bursting at the seams as nearly three lakhs cases---both civil and criminal--are pending in various courts, including in the High Court.The matter of concern is that over 6,400 cases have been pending in J&K and Ladakh High Court for more than ten years while the number of pending cases for five years to 10 years is over 14,000. though several measures have been taken to reduce the pendency of cases in various courts, including High Court, yet the number of pending cases is still close to 3 lakh.The high pendency of cases in courts has also validated the Apex Court’s observation that the delay in decision on cases before the courts of law had led to diminishing faith among the public in the judicial system. As on February 8 this, the number of pending cases in the High Court is 48,341 comprising 41,472 civil and 6869 criminal cases. Out of these cases, 22,473 civil and 4,753 criminal cases have been pending for less than years while the number of cases pending for five years to 10 years is 14,654 comprising 13,030 civil and 1624 criminal cases.There is, however, a significant decline in the pendency of cases as the number of cases in the High Court was 71,693 including on December 31, 2019.Official statistics revealed that the situation in district subordinate courts was even more worrisome where a total of 2, 49,751 cases were pending till January 31 this year.The number of pending cases in district and subordinate courts in the year 2019 was 1, 72,769 which further swelled to 2, 15,803 by the end of 2020. The sanctioned strength of Judges in the High Court is 17 against which the number of vacancies is four. Similarly, the sanctioned strength of judges in district and subordinate courts in Jammu and Kashmir is 300. Against the sanctioned strength, the number of working strength is 241 in these courts while as many as 59 posts of judges are still vacant.Sources said that the Department of Justice while implementing a Centrally SponsoredScheme for setting up Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) including exclusive POCSO has established four FTSCs in Jammu and Kashmir since 2019.According to the Department of Law and Justice, though the disposal of cases in courts is within the domain of the judiciary, the reasons for pendency of cases could be due to several factors which, inter-alia, include availability of adequate number of judges, supporting court staff and physical infrastructure, complexity of facts involved, nature of evidence, cooperation of stakeholders viz. bar, investigation agencies, witnesses and litigants and proper application of rules and procedures.

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