In an indication of the success of efforts being made to clear the judicial backlog, the number of cases pending in courts across Maharashtra declined by 20.77 per cent over the past 18 months, figures released by the Bombay High Court on Thursday showed.
The statistics showed that the number of cases disposed of by the courts has been higher than the number of cases filed across courts in the state during the period. While 31.07 lakh cases were filed between June 2010 and December 2011, 39.66 lakh cases were concluded.
This has brought the pendency down from 41.35 lakh cases in June 2010 to 32.76 lakh cases as on December 31, 2011.
In a year-wise break up provided by the High Court registry, it is seen that while 18,52,967 cases were filed in 2009, 20,06,314 cases were disposed of. By 2011, the number declined further with 19,96,277 cases being filed while 26,24,928 cases were closed.
The dip in the number of cases being filed may also be an indicator of the effectiveness of various methods encouraged by the courts such as Lokadalats, per-litigation settlements, arbitration and mediation, legal experts said.
Highly placed court officials said the rapid disposal rate has been achieved by courts in the state despite 50-60 posts of judges remaining vacant throughout the year due to transfers or retirements.
The number of cases older than 10 years has been brought down from 4.43 lakh in June 2010 to 2.01 lakh in December 2011. Cases between five and 10 years old have been reduced from 8.73 lakh to 4.08 lakh and those pending for five years or more have been more than halved from 13.16 lakh to 6.09 lakh.