Litigants face harrowing time in Bihar, with over 16 lakh cases pending in subordinate judiciary due to a whopping 45 per cent vacancies of judicial officers.

The situation is no better in the Patna High Court, where 1,45,110 cases are pending in the absence of sufficient strength of judges.

As on February 17, 2018, a total of 16,74,883 cases are pending across the district courts of Bihar while 1,45,110 cases are waiting for adjudication in the Patna High Court, according to National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) website.

Of the total number of pending cases at Patna High Court, 16.54 per cent cases have been pending for over 10 years while 30.12 per cent of the cases is lying pending for less than two years.

The delay in filling up judicial vacancies is a major reason behind the pending cases, Bihar’s Advocate General Lalit Kishore said.

Though some speedy disposal of cases is witnessed both in the High Court as well district courts of Bihar, but the pendency of cases for years remained a problem.

The total number of pending cases in subordinate courts of Bihar has come down to 16,74,883 (as on February 17, 2018) from 21,39,380 cases a year ago (as on March 31, 2017), e Supreme Court quarterly magazine said.

A total of 33,481 cases were filed in the subordinate courts of the state in January 2018 of which 26,111 cases were disposed of, the NJDG website said.

Whereas 10,488 cases were filed in the Patna High Court last month, 9,809 cases were disposed of, it said.

Despite less working strength of judiciary, the judges have done a tremendous job in disposing of cases especially Patna High Court judges including its Chief Justice who are holding courts even on Saturday to clear the backlog.

“If one sees the total outcome of the disposal rate during the last six months, the disposal rate is very satisfactory,” Kishore said.

At present, The Patna High Court has 32 judges against the sanctioned strength of 53 as on February 1,2018.

The situation in the lower courts vis-a-vis vacancies of judicial officers is more alarming as vacancies stood at around 45 per cent.

As on January 31, 2018, there were 1,828 sanctioned posts of judicial officers in the trial courts of the state against which 1,000 judicial officers are working, a Patna High Court official said.

The Bihar Public Service Commission has sent the names of 191 judicial officers to Patna High Court for appointment.

These officers will join soon, he said and around 100 judicial officers of Additional District and Sessions (ADJ) rank judges will also join shortly, he said.

To reduce the backlog of cases especially those which are pending for over 10 years, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had in August last suggested appointment of facilitation officers to fast track the disposal of such cases.

When asked about the appointment of the facilitation officers, state Advocate General Lalit Kishore, who is also the chairman of Bihar State Bar Council, said “I do not have any idea about it.