Pendency of cases in HC witnesses decline since 2019
Over 7 lakh hearings conducted through virtual mode
JAMMU, Mar 25: The e-Lok Adalats concept is proving efficacious in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh with disposal rate of cases at 70% as assessed by the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA). Moreover, over 7 lakh hearings have been conducted by the High Court of J&K and Ladakh and Subordinate Judiciary thereby considerably saved time and money besides helping the litigants.
Lok Adalat is organized at such intervals as felt required with a view to reduce pendency of cases in courts and settle disputes at pre-litigation stage. During the Covid pandemic, the Legal Services Authorities under the aegis of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) ingeniously integrated technology to move Lok Adalat on to the virtual platform, better known as e-Lok Adalats.
The first e-Lok Adalat was held in Madhya Pradesh on 27.06.2020 and later directions were issued to all the High Courts across the country to start e-Lok Adalats, which are organized simultaneously with regular Lok Adalats and benches are constituted on the basis of volume of cases referred by various courts or tribunals and institutions for pre-litigation cases.
As per NLSA data of period between June 2020 and January 2023, a total of 2281 pre-litigation cases were taken up during e-Lok Adalats out of which 1575 cases were disposed of in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
Similarly, a total of 8923 pending cases in courts were taken by during e-Lok Adalats out of which 6291 were settled by the benches. In this way, out of total 11204 cases, 7866 were disposed of and disposal rate has been assessed at 70%.
As directed by the NLSA, Legal Services Authorities of J&K and Ladakh are taking steps to promote e-Lok Adalats which include Standard Operating Procedure for conduct of e-Lok Adalat, technical training through system officers to court staff, WhatsApp groups for litigants, advocates and respondents for conveying them relevant information/link for attending e-Lok Adalats and video-conferencing link and cause list is displayed on the website of the District Courts.
Not only e-Lok Adalats, even virtual hearing of cases has led to disposal of large number of cases in the Union Territory of J&K and Ladakh and this can be gauged from the official data, which reveals that a total of 716240 hearings have been conducted by J&K and Ladakh High Court as well as District Courts as on January 31, 2023.
Of these, 257708 hearings have been conducted by the High Court and 458532 by the District Courts in these Union Territories.
Meanwhile, remarkable achievement has been made in the disposal of pending cases by the High Court of J&K and this can be gauged from the figures of National Judicial Data Grid.
As on December 31, 2018, a total of 64042 cases were pending in the High Court of J&K and this number increased to 71693 as on December 31, 2019. However, during the past three years the figures have declined considerably. The pendency as on December 31, 2020 was 63468 cases and this number reduced to 47761 cases as on December 31, 2021 and further to 44526 as on December 31, 2022.
However, pendency of cases in the District Courts as per National Judicial Data Grid is still at the higher side. As per the figures, a total of 163520 cases were pending as on December 31, 2018 in the District Courts of J&K and this number increased to 172769 as on December 31, 2019 and further to 215803 as on December 31, 2022. Again the number of pending cases increased to 243026 as on December 31, 2021 and 299716 as on December 31, 2022.
As far as District Courts in the Ladakh Union Territory are concerned, pendency as on December 31, 2022 was 749 cases and the same increased to 824 as on December 31, 2021 and 1154 as on December 31, 2022.