Courts bear burden of 36 lakh cases
Situation is not comfortable : CJ08 January 2022
Gulam Rabbani :
The number of pending cases is increasing day by day. The courts across the country including the Appellate and High Court divisions of the Supreme Court are bearing a huge burden of around 36 lakh cases. The judges are also struggling to cope with the pressure of this huge number of cases.
According to a statistics of the Supreme Court, the total number of the cases pending with the country's higher and lower courts is 35,98,263 till June 30 in 2019. Although the statistics of the cases have been upgraded after then, the Supreme Court officials do not want to talk about it.
Supreme Court annual reports uploaded in the apex court's website contain only the figure of the cases filed with the Appellate Division and High Court division. No information is found about the cases pending in the lower courts.
According to the annual report of 2020, as of December 31 in 2020, a total of 15,225 cases were pending in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and 4,52,963 cases were pending before the High Court division.
The number of the pending cases in the High Court Division was only 20567 in 1972. But it increased to 22779 in 1980 and 39261 in 1990. But over the next decades it became a huge number. At the end of the year 2000, the figure stands for 122178 and the figure stands 313735 in 2010.
The situation is the same in the Appellate Division. The number of the pending cases in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court was only 4056 in 1972. It increased to 4790 in 1980 and 5440 in 1990.
But the pending ratio was high after 1990s. In the year of 2000 the pending cases number was 11816, more than
double comparing with the number of 1990. At the end of the 2010, though the number decreased to 9141, it again went up in the next decade. And in 2020 the number stands to 15225 cases.
Since the disposing rate of the cases is less than the recording rate, the number of pending cases is increasing day by day. The justice-seekers are also crushed in this chaotic situation of the cases. They have to wait year after year to get justice in a case. Again many justice-seekers are leaving the worldly life while waiting to get justice.
The problem that the judiciary is facing with the case backlog has also surfaced in first official statement of the newly appointed Chief Justice.
Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique said in his felicitation program, "This is not a pleasant situation for the judiciary that the huge number of cases of about 18 crore of people pending on the shoulders of only one thousand nine hundred judges. At the outset of my assumption of the office, I would like to urge the learned judges of all levels to work hard with sincerity and diligence to set the goal of disposing of more cases with compassion and love for the justice-seeking people."
The Chief Justice has said that a monitoring cell headed by a judge of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court will be formed for each of the eight divisions of the country in order to resolve case backlog in all lower courts and bring transparency in the judicial process. Progress reports will be taken from each of them every month, also said the Chief Justice adding that older cases will be supervised and monitored with utmost importance for early disposing of them.
Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, a Senior Lawyer of the SC, said, "Initiative should be taken for the quick disposal of the cases to reduce the huge backlog. Authority can hold admission hearing of the cases in order to avoid random filing of the cases."
He also opined that lawyers and judges have to be more efficient and competent in dealing cases to gain the purpose. Annual vacation of the courts especially the higher courts has to be reduced in the interest of disposing more and more cases.