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Centre says no plans to reintroduce NJAC, says over 4 crore cases pending

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The Central government told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that it had no plans whatsoever to reintroduce the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), while the pendency in courts across the country had reached 4,28,87,855.

Giving a written reply to an Unstarred Question by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and CPI (M) MP Dr. John Brittas, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the government did not plan to reintroduce NJAC, with or without suitable modifications.

Replying to another Unstarred Question by BJP MP Neeraj Shekhar, the Minister said that as on November 29, 2022, the number of cases pending in the Supreme Court was 69744. 

He said as on December 5, 2022, total 4,28,18,111 cases were pending in different High Courts and District & Subordinate Courts of the country, taking the total pendency to 4,28,87,855. These included 31882317 criminal cases and 10935794 civil cases pending in various High Courts and District & Subordinate Courts of the country.

Regarding vacancies, the Law Minister said as on December 5, 2022, against the sanctioned strength of 34, 27 Judges were working in the Supreme Court, leaving seven vacancies. 

He said against the sanctioned strength of 1108, 778 Judges were posted in different High Courts of the country, leaving a vacancy of 330. The data was taken from the National Judicial Data Grid (District and Taluka Courts of India), he added.

On the number of Collegium proposals pending with the Government, Rijiju said as on December 5, 2022, one proposal for appointment of a Supreme Court Judge and eight for appointment as High Court Judges, as recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium, were pending with the Government. 

Further, 11 proposals for transfer as High Court Judges, one transfer recommendation of a Chief Justice and one appointment of Chief Justice of a High Court, recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium, were under consideration of the Government, said the Minister. 

He further said that during the last five years, total 256 proposals have been remitted by the Government to the High Courts. The proposals were remitted to the concerned High Courts on the advice of the Supreme Court Collegium, he added.

He said as on December 5, 2022, 146 proposals recommended by the High Court Collegiums were at various stages of processing with the Government and the Supreme Court Collegium. 

Rijiju further informed the Rajya Sabha that as on October 31, 2022, 28651 new cases were filed in the Supreme Court in 2022, while 29109 were disposed of during the same period. 

As on September 30, 2022, 1540254 cases were filed in different High Courts of the country in 2022, while 1494201 cases were disposed of during the same period, he said.

As per the Minister, as on September 30, 2022, 19377109 cases were filed in District & Subordinate Courts in 2022, while 17624307 cases were disposed of during the same period.

Rijiju said the Supreme Court, while hearing a case, had expressed its opinion over delay in notifying the names of Judges recommended by the Collegium.

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