DATA DRIVE: Huge pendency in green cases

By: |
June 6, 2020 8:44 AM

The worst showing is for The Environmental (Protection) Act and The Air & The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, where it will take over 32 and 33 years, respectively, to clear the huge backlog of pending cases. Over 90% court cases remain unresolved under five of the seven Acts related to forests, wildlife, environment protection and pollution.

According to the Centre for Science and Environment’s State of India’s Environment 2020 report, courts will take nine to 33 years to clear the backlog of cases.

WHILE THE NUMBER of environment-related offences in the country declined 17% to 35,196 in 2018 from 42,143 in 2017, the number of cases pending in counts went up by7% to 48,238. So, at the current rate, according to the Centre for Science and Environment’s State of India’s Environment 2020 report, courts will take nine to 33 years to clear the backlog of cases for violations under forest, wildlife, environment protection and air pollution laws.

For instance, under The Forest Act and The Forest Conservation Act, the average number of cases courts disposed of every day in 2018 was 5.56. At that rate, courts will take 9.2 years to complete the backlog. States with most
number of offences were Uttar Pradesh (1,436), Rajasthan (471) and Himachal Pradesh (240). Similarly, under The
Wildlife Protection Act, the average number of cases courts disposed of every day in 2018 was less than one. At
the current rate, it will take more than 13 years to clear the backlog of cases.

The worst showing is for The Environmental (Protection) Act and The Air & The Water (Prevention & Control
of Pollution) Act, where it will take over 32 and 33 years, respectively, to clear the huge backlog of pending cases. Over 90% court cases remain unresolved under five of the seven Acts related to forests, wildlife, environment protection and pollution.

The most worrying trend is that 12 states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Uttarakhand, have registered an increase in environmental crimes between 2017 and 2018.

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