The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB’s) annual data report, Crime in India 2016, states that the pendency rate in Mumbai for offences categorised as crimes against women is 94.1 per cent.
The data shows that till 2016, the latest available national crime record, Mumbai had 14,715 pending cases of crimes against women. The pendency rate shows the number of cases still being heard before various courts in the district, which are yet to reach a conclusion in terms of acquittal, conviction or discharge of accused. Offences included in crimes against women include rape, sexual harassment, acid attacks under the Indian Penal Code as well as special acts like the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
Data from the National Judicial Data Grid on overall pending criminal cases before the sessions court in Mumbai district till Saturday are 2,00,08,810, of which 14,72,050 were filed by women. The number of pending cases before the magisterial courts are 4,24,803, of which 7,895 were filed by women. Experts, including members of the judiciary, have said the high pendency rate is for reasons, including vacancies in the number of judges in lower courts.
“The authorities have suggested that fast-track courts be set up for trial in cases of crimes against women. But, from the past experience, it has been seen that fast-track courts are not necessarily effective. An overall increase in the number of courts is necessary. The long pendency of cases affects the conviction rate as well. It could result in victims being fed up with the system and eventually not coming before the trial court for their deposition,” said advocate Flavia Agnes, who founded Majlis Manch, a legal centre for women’s rights.