The previous year ended leaving a pendency of 2.51-lakh civil as well as criminal cases in the Punjab and Haryana high court, besides 11.51 lakh cases in all the district courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
Even in dream circumstances, it will take four years to clear the backlog in the high court. The annual report released by the high court for 2012 suggests that it disposed of 1.08-lakh cases in the year and the disposal figure in the district courts of two states and the union territory (UT) was 16.31-lakh cases.
In the same time, 1.16-lakh new cases were instituted in the high court and 15.80 lakh in the district courts of both the states as well as Chandigarh. In the case of high court, the case institution and disposal data for the past decade shows a pendency of more than 2-lakh cases consistently.
However, in 2012, an average of 2,518 cases each was disposed of by 43 judges in the high court that has a sanctioned strength of 68 judges.
If we fill all 68 posts of high court judge now and the institution of new cases every year remains static at 1.16 lakh (which is unlikely), it will still be by the end of 2017 (because each judge decides 2,518 cases a year, 68 will decide 1.71-lakh cases in the same time) before we have no pendency.
On December 31, 2012, there were 913 judicial officers in the district courts of Punjab and Haryana, compared with 735 on January 1, 2012. Of the 37 sessions divisions, 17 are in Punjab, 19 in Haryana, and one in Chandigarh.
Pendency was up by 7,454 cases in the high court in 2012 when compared with the institution of cases and a decrease of 50,826 in district courts.
The report reads that substantial steps were on to fill the vacancies of judge in the high court as well as district courts and “2013 would witness a substantial addition in the strength of judges.”