The total tally of pending cases across 25 High Courts in India stands at 51,52,921 cases, of which 36,77,089 are civil cases and 14,75,832 are criminal cases. The Allahabad High Court tops the list with a pendency of 7,46,677 cases before it, as reported by Bar and Bench.
The Supreme Court on June 15 this year noted with anguish the pendency of cases, particularly criminal appeals, in high courts as it was hearing a murder convict’s bail plea while his appeal against his conviction is pending before the Allahabad high court. The top court called “chronic pendency of criminal appeals” a challenge to the judicial system.
The Supreme Court noted the right to speedy trial also involves that to speedy disposal of criminal appeals. It stated:
If such appeals are not taken up for hearing within a reasonable time, the right of appeal itself would be illusory, inasmuch as incarcerated convicts (who are denied bail) would have undergone a major part–if not the whole of the period of their sentence.
The Supreme Court had asked Allahabad, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Orissa, Rajasthan, Bombay high courts to submit a detailed plan of action for deciding the pending criminal appeals.
Allahabad High Court
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, accounts for 40% of the 2.8 million cases pending for over 10 years at district and taluka courts and for 43% of the 500,000 awaiting completion for over 20 years. As many as 40% or 34,000 out of 85,141 cases pending nationally for over 30 years are in Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh’s Allahabad high court has the most pendency of cases among high courts:
- It accounts for 30%, or 276,000, of 920,000 cases pending in high courts for over 10 years
- Over 55% of cases awaiting completion for 20 years in high courts are pending at the Allahabad high court
- The percentage is 86 (40,374 out of 46,754) when it comes to three-decade-old cases
District & Taluka Level
As many as 8.5% of the total of 32.9 million cases pending in district and taluka courts across India, or 2.8 million, have remained so for over 10 years, according to NJDG, which is updated daily and provides consolidated figures of pending cases.
Over 500,000, or 1.5% of cases pending at the district and taluka level, are over two-decade-old while 85,141 cases have remained undecided for over three decades.
In June 2020, District courts fared better than high courts in terms of pending cases. As many as over 4.7 million cases were pending before 25 high courts across the country. Out of them, over 920,000 cases, or 19.26%, have been pending for over 10 years and 158,000 (3.3%) for more than 20 years and 46,754 for three decades or more.