Indian Courts grappling with backlog of over 3 crore cases

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New Delhi, Mar 3 (UNI) More than three crore cases are pending in various courts of the country with the backlog in the Supreme Court alone touching a figure of nearly 47,000 at the close of last year, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply, Law and Justice Minister H R Bhardwaj said a total of 2,89,86,205 cases were pending in various district and subordinate courts as in September last year out of which the High Courts accounted for 37,00,223.

In the Supreme Court, the pending cases touched a figure of 46,926 as on December 31 last year.

The Allahabad High Court has the dubious distinction of leading the high courts in pendency of cases (as on September 30, 2007) with a figure of 808226 -- 604450 civil cases and 203776 criminal cases.

Allahabad High Court is followed by Madras High Court (426347 cases), Bombay High Court (367409 cases), Calcutta High Court (279318 cases), Punjab and Haryana High Court (255696 cases), Orissa High Court (227752 cases) and Rajasthan High Court (214451 cases).

About the remedial measures, the Minister said the government had introduced 'The Gram Nyayalayas Bill, 2007' for establishing 5067 Gram Nyayalayas, a move which would enable setting up of more trial courts at the intermediate Panchayat level.

''These courts would provide justice in relatively ordinary civil and criminal cases to the rural population. The procedure to be followed by these courts has also been kept simple and flexible so that these cases can be heard and disposed of within 90 days' period,'' he said.

Mr Bhardwaj said it was also envisaged that these courts would be mobile and would hear the litigants in their respective villages to achieve the gool of providing justice to the people at their doorsteps.

With regard to the higher judiciary, he said the government had initiated a slew of steps, including a decision to increase the strength of judges in the High Courts and the Supreme Court, setting up of Fast Track courts and of special tribunals like the CAT and Income Tax Appellate Tribunals.

Alternative modes of disposal, including mediation, negotiation, arbitration and 'Plea Bargaining', have been encouraged.

UNI SKS HS DS1413

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