Cuttack: The number of pending cases in the Orissa High Court has seen a sharp spike due to the lockdown. Yes, some cases have been disposed of through video conferencing, but that has not really helped. Regular and continuous hearing of cases is the need of the hour to bring down the number of pending cases, said lawyers in the know of things. The Orissa High Court has decided to cancel its summer vacation to facilitate prompt disposal of cases.
There are 16 judges at present in the Orissa High Court. Among them Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq took oath April 27 and Justice Savitri Ratho was appointed June 11.
According to the e-court portal information, 1,59,738 cases are currently pending in the Orissa High Court. Among them 42,909 cases belong to civil category and 47,087 are in criminal. The number of writ petitions (69,742) tops the list of pending cases.
Out of the total pending cases 1,27,315 have been for more than a year. Among them are 35,374 civil and 33,302 criminal cases and 58,639 writ petitions. Similarly, the total number of cases pending from one to three years is 27,125. The figures for three to five years are 24,235, five to 10 years 39,870, 10 to 20 years 23,910 and 20-30 years 3,731.
There are 691 cases that are being heard for more than 30 years. Among them 673 are criminal cases and 18 in the civil category, including 10 writ petitions. It should be stated here that, 9,127 cases have been filed by women petitioners including 3,848 civil cases and 1,483 criminal cases.
The Odisha government imposed lockdown restrictions March 22, following the COVID-19 outbreak. Total number of pending cases in Orissa High Court as on the date was 1,56,356. This figure spiked to 1,58,522 cases in May and to 1,59,634 by June 11.
“Hearing of cases will be limited till July 3. It could give rise to a deadlock in the days ahead,” senior lawyers opined. “It is premature to visualise a normal situation at this juncture,” they added.