More than 43 lakh cases are pending in the 25 high courts in the country and over 8 lakh of these are over a decade old, the Rajya Sabha was informed Thursday.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a written reply said 43.55 lakh cases are pending in the high court and out of these, 18.75 lakh relate to civil matters and 12.15 lakh are criminal cases.
He said 26.76 lakh of these cases are less than five years old, 8.44 lakh are pending for more than five years but less than 10 years and 8.35 lakh are over 10 year old.
Underling the huge pendency, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to increase the strength of judges and raise the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years.
"One of the prime reasons why we are not able to contain the ever-growing pendency is shortage of HC judges. At present, 399 posts, or 37 per cent of sanctioned judge-strength, are vacant.
"The existing vacancies need to be filled immediately. However, despite best efforts put in by all stakeholders, it has not been possible to appoint judges to bring the working judge-strength anywhere close to the sanctioned judge- strength," Gogoi wrote.
As on June 1, 58,669 cases were pending in the Supreme Court.