"NJDG for High Courts is going to be a game changer", Justice Madan Lokur

Bar & Bench July 27 2017

Within two years of launching the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) for District and Taluka Courts, the Supreme Court eCommittee has implemented the same initiative for high courts.

Thus far, information about pending cases in 14 high courts is available on the NJDG site, while the data for the 10 remaining high courts will be uploaded in a month or so.

The NJDG for High Courts provides the number of cases pending and disposed of by high courts across India. Cases are divided into Civil and Criminal Cases, and segregated into age-wise categories of up to 2 years, between 2 to 5 years, between 5 to 10 years and more than 10 years.

The NJDG will also provide information such as monthly disposal numbers, as well as the proportion of cases filed by senior citizens.

Judge-in-charge of the Supreme Court eCommittee, Justice Madan Lokur said to Bar & Bench,

“This is going to be a game changer. This will bring out a great deal of transparency in the functioning of the courts and in checking the pendency.”

As per the information accessed at 4:30 pm today, there are a total of 22.4 lakh cases pending across the high courts of Bombay, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madras, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab & Haryana, Sikkim, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh and Tripura.

Out of the aforementioned, the Bombay High Court leads the way, with 4.64 lakh cases pending, followed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court, with 3.82 lakh cases. The Madras High Court has 3.16 cases, and the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad is not far away with 3.12 lakh pending cases.

A majority of total pending cases (almost 30%) have been pending for a period between 2 and 5 years. 18.3% of the cases have been pending for more than 10 years. 61,121 cases filed by senior citizens are pending, while 26,897 cases filed by women are pending.

Given the lack of information on high court pendency in the past, organisations like Daksh conducted their own independent research to find the same. The Rule of Law Project, spearheaded by founder Harish Narasappa, aimed at finding reasons behind pendency in the country's courts.

The first step towards that was to ascertain the actual number of cases pending in courts, a task which proved to be quite difficult, for a number of reasons. In an earlier interview with Bar & Bench, Narasappa said,

"The data exists, but it is not organized in such a way that it can be analysed."

In that respect, the Supreme Court eCommittee's initiative to launch NJDG figures for high courts could indeed prove to be a game changer.

Justice Lokur also said that the NJDG for the District Courts is being further refined to provide details of cases, which will ultimately help in case management.

Moreover, a module has also been launched for e-filing of cases in the high courts and the district courts. The process of syncing the data with NJDG is going on and this will take some time.

Here is the link to Public Portal to monitor pendency of various High Courts http://njdg.ecourts.gov.in/hcnjdg_public/