"On these, 20,334 matters are less than one year old and are, thus, not arrears. The balance 36,049 are arrears," Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.
The number of cases pending in the High Courts was 42,17,903 as on September 30, 2010.
Khurshid said efforts are on to reduce pendency of cases. He also sought suggestions from state governments for speeding up the process of appointment of judges.
While increasing number of institution of cases is one of the causes of pendency in courts, the minister said there are other reasons for piling up cases like granting of excessive adjournments, lack of priority to disposal of old cases and inadequacy of staff.
He said while the time taken in disposal of pending cases is "exclusively within the domain of the judiciary", the government has taken number of measures, including setting up of a 'National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms' to facilitate expeditious disposal of cases.
Replying to supplementary questions, Khurshid said Rs 1,325.9 crore, out of Rs 5,000 crore recommended by the 13th Finance Commission for improving justice delivery system, has already been released to the states.
With these grants states can set up special magistrates' courts and appoint court managers. The grants can also be utilised for training of judicial officers and strengthening of state judicial academies, he said.