The combined pendency of cases before the lower courts in Punjab and Haryana has reached around one million, three hundred, thirty-thousand and four hundred twenty-three (1330423), according to the latest official data available on the National Judicial Data Grid. The courts in both the states have witnessed a rise in the pending litigations in 2018.
Against the number of 777 total courts, Punjab state has a strength of 528 judicial officers. However, around 73 of them are on deputation or are holding ex-cadre posts. Three judicial officers are also under suspension. There are 484 judicial officers in Haryana against 670 total courts. In Haryana, 72 judicial officers are on deputation or are holding ex-cadre posts. Here also three officers are under suspension.
The latest data on pendency reveals that in Punjab at present there are 601187 pending cases – 256960 are civil cases and 344227 are criminal cases. 49 cases are pending for a period of above 30 years. 467262 cases are pending for one year or less, 102925 for one to three years, 23056 for three to five years, 7000 for five to 10 years, 779 for 10 to 20 years and 116 for 20 to 30 years. The pending cases in Punjab include 84200 such litigations where women are the petitioners or appellants and 62515 have been filed by senior citizens.
A total of 5,68232 cases were pending at the beginning of the year before the subordinate courts – meaning an increase of 32,955 cases during 2018. The annual increase last year was 63,912 cases. The average pendency before the district courts in Punjab since 2010 has remained above five lakh.
In Haryana, the pending litigations at present are 729236 in number – 280819 are civil in nature and 448417 are criminal cases. At least four cases are pending for the past more than 30 years. 568395 are pending for a period between less than 1 month to one year, 138157 are pending for one to three years, 16338 for three to five years, 5725 for five to 10 years, 601 or 10 to 30 years and 16 for 20 to 30 years. 79635 cases out of the total pendency have been filed by women and 57999 have been filed by senior citizens.
During 2018, there has been an increase of 83589 cases in Haryana – the pendency at the beginning of the year was 6,45,647 cases. The annual increase last year was 97,911 cases, according to the available data.
According to a report released by Supreme Court in 2015 October, the shortfall of judges in lower courts is one of the main reasons behind the rising figure of pending litigations. The report – A Report on Access to Justice 2016 – using various calculations has predicted that Punjab by 2025 would require some 956 Judges in district courts to tackle the pendency and fresh cases. Similarly, the number for Haryana is 838.