Saturday, July 29, 2023

Patna High Court and its subordinate courts have over 37 lakh pending civil and criminal cases

The Patna High Court has 203291 pending cases. Bihar's  district and subordinate courts have 3508123 pending cases. As on July 15,2023, there are 4.41 crores cases pending in district and subordinate courts across the country. This was revealed by Arjun Ram Meghwal, the Union Minister of Law and Justice. He was responding to question about whether the pendency of cases in courts has increased due to vacancy of judges in different courts and tribunals. 

The minister replied, "The vacancy of judges is not the sole reason for the increased pendency of cases in
courts. The pendency of cases in courts can be contributed to several factors which, inter-alia, include availability of physical infrastructure and supporting court staff, complexity of facts involved, nature of evidence, co-operation of stake holders viz. bar, investigation agencies, witnesses and litigants and proper application of rules and procedures. Other factors that lead to delay in disposal of cases include lack of prescribed time frame by respective courts for disposal of various kinds of cases, frequent adjournments and lack of adequate arrangement to monitor, track and bunch cases for hearing. The information regarding pendency of cases in the Tribunals is not maintained by the Department." 

Replying to the query regarding the steps taken to fill up the vacant posts within a fixed time limit in all these courts, he said, "(c): Filling up of vacancies in the High Courts is a continuous, integrated and
collaborative process between the Executive and the Judiciary. It requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities both at state and central level. Hence, the time for filling up of vacancies of the Judges in the higher Judiciary cannot be indicated. While every effort is made to fill up the existing vacancies expeditiously, vacancies of Judges in High Courts do keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of Judges and also due to increase in the strength of Judges. In case of the District/Subordinate judiciary, The Central Government has no role under the Constitution in the selection, recruitment and appointment of judicial officers at the District/Subordinate judiciary level. As per the Constitutional framework, in exercise of powers conferred under proviso to Article 309 read with Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution, the respective State Government in consultation with the High Court frames the rules and regulations regarding the issues of appointment and recruitment of Judicial Officers in the respective State Judicial Service. Thus, the selection and appointment of judicial officers in the Subordinate/District Courts is the responsibility of the High Courts and State Governments concerned. In some States, the respective High Courts undertake the recruitment process, whereas in other States, the High Courts does it in consultation with the State Public Service Commissions."

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