At a conference in New Delhi Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind expressed concern over the pendency of court cases in the country. While subordinate courts account for the bulk of pending cases across courts, the backlog in the High Courts was over 32 lakh as of September 1, according to data from the National Judicial Data Grid. These include over 14 lakh civil cases and over 7 lakh criminal cases, the rest being writ petitions. Nearly one-fifth of these cases have been pending for over 10 years, and another one-fourth between 5 and 10 years.
Among the High Courts, Bombay had the highest pendency with 4.64 lakh cases as of Saturday, followed by Punjab & Haryana with 4.05 lakh and Hyderabad with 3.58 lakh. Over two-thirds of the backlog in Bombay High Court is made up of civil cases (3.03 lakh). The highest number of pending criminal cases is in Punjab & Haryana (1.27 lakh), followed by Madhya Pradesh (1.23 lakh) and Patna (nearly 60,000). Hyderabad and Bombay are next with nearly 51,000 each.
This Word Means – Marine heat wave
What is causing the extraordinary localised warming of waters off the northeastern coast of the US?
On August 8, the sea surface temperature in the Gulf of Maine, a normally cold, high-latitude portion of the North Atlantic Ocean adjoining the far northeastern corner of the United States, touched 20.5 degrees Celsius, close to the temperature band deemed perfect for swimming. The “marine heat wave” currently warming the waters of the Gulf is so severe and unusual that scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute have “had to add new colours to (their) temperature illustrations to reflect just how warm the Gulf of Maine has been this year”. Surface temperatures — which describe the average conditions up to a metre below the ocean surface — in the Gulf of Maine have been the third highest this year after 2012 and 2016, satellite data from NOAA and NASA going back to 1981 show.
A “dark blob” of warm water is currently sitting 40 miles offshore, east of Cape Cod and south of Nova Scotia, blocking colder water from the Arctic from coming down, a report in The Washington Post quoted Andrew Pershing, chief scientific officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, as saying. The marine heat wave, then, may be the result of a “weakening” of the ocean currents (the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) that carry warm water north along the east coast of North America. “In order to get a heat wave, you usually have to have a couple of things that add together,” The Post quoted Pershing as saying. “The background conditions have been set by the unusual changes in circulation in the North Atlantic. Add on top of that really warm conditions in the northeast in July and early August.”
So far, only 40 days have fallen short of the “heat wave” threshold — with temperatures rising above the 90th percentile for the period going back to 1982 — this year, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has found. Scientists expect the unusually warm waters to trigger ocean migrations, and set off destabilising chains that could impact a range of species from whales to puffins.