Gujarat has registered the highest number of cases that are pending trial in the country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2021 report, the state reported nearly 23, 35, 0529 cases pending trial.
This rising pendency of over 90 percent is due to a gap in ‘efficient manpower, trained judges and vacancy of sanctioned posts” in the state, as stated by the sources.
It is interesting to note that the number of cases in Gujarat has doubled in the last three years. Around 10, 44,732 cases of trial were pending with a pendency rate of 92 percent and a conviction rate of around 45.6 percent. The courts across the state had disposed of approximately 85,324 cases in the same year.
The state was ranked 5th in terms of trial pendency in the year 2019. During the given year, Maharashtra had topped the chart with 16,93,960 cases followed by West Bengal with 12,25,838 cases pending trials.
Just the previous year, Gujarat already had over 10 lakhs cases pending under trial. A bunch of over 1.22 lakhs of cases were added again in 2019.
In 2020, the number of cases picked up to 13, 72,149 with a conviction rate of 40.7 percent and a pendency rate of 97.3 percent in the state. In that year, Gujarat was listed as number three in the pending trial list.
The disposals of cases were around 37,995 in 2020; fresh lists of 3, 65,412 were added; and 2,666 were quashed by the courts.
“COVID-pandemic may be one of the key reasons for the number of pending trials increasing so sharply in the last three years. The courts were closed for some time during the pandemic. Later, online hearings were, but important cases were heard in priority due to the time limit. So, there was a backlog of cases,” Anil Desai, a prosecutor said.
The NCRB report has also reported that compared to 1,221 cases in which trials were completed in crimes against women in 2020, the courts in the state almost doubled the number to 2,535 in 2021.
Around 2,600 cases of crimes against women were disposed of by the courts in Gujarat in the year 2021.
When it comes to crime against children among the 19 metro cities of the country, Ahmedabad city saw the lowest conviction rate—8 per cent.
Interestingly, the state records high court pendency rate in crimes against both women and children in 2021 even as it registered a high police disposal rate.