The high courts have a shortage of 413 judges as on September 1
The number of pending cases in the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts has fallen in the last three years, but it has seen an upward swing in the lower judiciary, law ministry data shows. According to figures compiled by the ministry, the top court had 62,791 pending cases at the end of 2014. The figures fell to 59,272 in December 2015.
At the end of 2016, the number of cases left in the Supreme Court rose to 62,537. The ministry said according to latest data provided by the Supreme Court, as on July 17, 2017, the pending cases have been pegged at 58,438. These include 48,772 civil and 9,666 criminal cases.
Similar is the case with the 24 high courts of the country where pending cases were pegged at 41.52 lakh at the end of 2014. In December, 2015, the number of pending case fell to 38.70 lakh.
At the end of 2016, the cases rose to 40.15 lakh, but were less than the number of pending cases in 2014. In subordinate courts -- considered the backbone of the country's justice delivery system -- the number of pending cases has gone up in the last three years.
While pending cases in 2014 were recorded at 2.64 crore, they went up to 2.70 crore in 2015. In December 2016, pending cases went up to 2.74 crore.
The high courts have a shortage of 413 judges as on September 1. While the approved strength is 1,079, these are working with 666 judges. The lower courts with an approved strength of some 20,000 judicial officers are short of 4,937, law ministry data showed.