Pending cases on the rise in courts

Kathmandu, September 2:

The courts have failed to meet the target on settling pending cases in line with the five-year strategic plan of the judiciary.

The plan had set the target to bring down 56,361 backlog cases to 33,816 within five years. But the target got a blow with the number of pending cases rising to 58,954 by the last year of the strategic plan.

While adopting the plan, the apex court had set a plan to reduce the backlog by 10 per cent every year.

There are around 13,000 cases awaiting verdicts in the Supreme Court alone, 9,600 in the appellate courts, 34,000 in the district courts and around 1,800 in the special courts and tribunals.

During the past fiscal year, the courts settled 7.50 per cent fewer cases than in the previous year.

In the previous year, the courts had given verdict on 52 per cent of the cases filed during the year.

But the courts gave verdicts on only 43.50 per cent of cases filed during the past fiscal year.

The Supreme Court settled 31.38 per cent of the cases and the appellate courts 46.99 per cent in the past fiscal year. Similarly, the district courts settled 39.22 per cent of the cases. Special courts and tribunals settled only 43.39 per cent of the cases filed in them during the same period.

Asked why they failed to meet the target, joint-registrar at the Supreme Court Binod Sharma said, “The courts could not settle more cases in the past fiscal year due to the lack of sufficient judges and also because the judicial staff were deployed for the Constituent Assembly elections.”

“Conflict in the Tarai also created disturbances in the functioning of the courts,” Sharma added.

There are 41 vacancies for judges in the three tiers of courts — over 10 in the Supreme Court, 25 in the appellate courts and four in the district courts.

Appellate courts in Ilam, Dhankuta, Biratnagar, Pokhara, Surkhet, Jumla, Mahendranagar and Dipayal have been functioning without chief judges.

“Lack of adequate judges is one of the major reasons for the failure to meet the target. There are several other reasons that hindered the settling of cases,”

Sharma explained.