Pending Cases and Undertrials

As reported in Sept 2014, around 3.13 crore cases were pending in high courts and subordinate courts across the country while 63,843 cases were pending in the Supreme Court at the end of May 2014 – 9% increase over 58,519 cases in 2011. Of the total of 3.13 crore cases 70% cases were less than five years old.  About 40 lakh cases are pending in high courts and 2.65 crore cases in the subordinate courts.

The following website provides latest information on pending cases in the Supreme Court:


“When the under-trial prisoners are detained in jail custody to an indefinite period, Article 21 of the Constitution is violated.” – The Supreme Court

In addition, about 2.5 lakh under-trials are languishing jails, of which over 2,000 are in jails for over five years. Undertrials also out-number convicted inmates. For instance, recent data indicates that over 70 percent inmates in Asia’a largest prison, Tihar in Delhi, are undertrials.

“73.5 percent (8,911 out of 12,124 which also include 410 women) inmates of Tihar Jail are undergoing trial, which is much above the national average of 66.4 percent undertrials in Indian jails.” – Director General (Prisons) – Tihar Jail, Neeraj Kumar

Some Facts and Figures

Here are some facts and figures showing the status of Indian legal system:

  • Every year around 380 murders take place in Delhi. But the Sessions Courts are equipped to dispose of only 250 murder cases every year. This means a backlog of 130 cases. [There is no mechanism to worry about it, ironically.]
  • In subordinate courts, a judge on an average disposes about 1300 cases every year.
  • The average disposal of all Indian high courts is about 2400 cases per year. Compare it with the national average of disposal of cases per judge per year in major high courts: Kerala, 3,103;Madras, 2,979;Calcutta, 2,919;Punjab and Haryana, 2,900; Karnataka 2,817 and Andhra Pradesh, 2,625.
  • On an average, the 21 high courts dispose off around 188 cases everyday.
  • The Madras High Court is fastest in terms of speedy disposal: average 648 cases daily. It is followed by the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow and Kanpur benches put together) which disposes of 445 cases everyday.

Judicial Strength

There are roughly about 14,600 judges as against the sanctioned strength of about 17,600 (including 630 High Court Judges and 31 SC judges). In India there are 10.5 judges for every million people – compare it with Bangladesh 12 judges, Australia with 41. 6, Hungary with 70, Canada with 75.2, and the USA with 107 judges per million. Needless to say, there is plenty of scope for improvement in Indian judiciary.

About Goodpal

I am a firm believer in healthy people (mind and body both), healthy societies and healthy environment. Please feel free to comment, share and broadcast your views -- I like rational and intellectual discussions. Thanks for stopping by. Have a Good Day!
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4 Responses to Pending Cases and Undertrials

  1. Pingback: The Ghastly Delhi Rape and Anna Hazare | CnA: What You Need Before Your DNA.

  2. Vivek KAUL says:

    Currently when we have 3.2crore cases pending in courts,there is no sensitivity on regard to old age persons who are 80 years plus.i strongly feel that there should be a law like the juvenile law for children which protects them from being harrased by the courts.similarly for all senior citizen above 80 years who are undertrials in jails or outside should not be harassed by the courts and should be left free. My grandmother who is 99years old is a undertrials on the lower court for more than 17years of her life and now the judge wants to start proceedings in the case, as in the Indian legal system either we have to prove her to be a lunatic or get her death certificate before the judge to stop proceedings at her age. Hence, as per my experience it seems that in our legal system the old should be either killed or declared as lunatics , as Pur honourable judge wants to proceed with the case file after giving dates for more than 17years and wants to proceed in the case against her on prima facile after more than 17years when she is suffering from serious illnesses like heart, dementia,hearing,eyesight and is completely bedridden.the judge want her personal appearance in the court at any cost. In this case either the judge wants to kill her in front of his eyes by getting her to the court, or has become mentally sick and wants to torture my grandmother ,it all seems unreal to me . This is the true reality in our lower and high courts
    Where justice is never given and 80 percent of the undertrials rot in the courts by attending every date or are put in jails to die as they cannot afford to fight their cases,which never seems to end.

    Tomorrow is our last hope for my grandmother in Supreme Court. I hope some sense prevails on the judge of the Supreme Court,otherwise it will be the darkest hour in Indian history for me and my My family .

    God bless her soul, vivek

    • vivek kaul says:

      Congrats Nani ! Today was not the darkest day for your family.Supreme court finally after more than 17years of requalar dates in the lower court and in her 100th year gave a stay on our plea
      on the order of the lower court judge.Finally ,I hope tmr the lower court judge respects the supreme court verdict . There is a ray a light after 17years of darkness in our family ,that all is not lost.This is when people like me ,start believing in miracles of the allmighty.
      Thanks for your support.


  3. Goodpal says:

    Dear Vivek,

    I strongly empathize with the pain and suffering you and your family is going through. I hope the day will come when the Indian justice system has a more humane face and provide relief to people and society. People need justice not the rigmarole of procedures and verdicts.

    Thanks for sharing. Do keep visiting and sharing.


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