KATHMANDU, July 22: Over 2,030 cases older then five years still remain unsettled at the Supreme Court, posing a challenge to the judiciary's strategic plan that stresses settling cases five years and older on a priority basis.
In the fiscal year 2015/2016, the apex court settled 658 cases that were at the court for more than five years. The settlement is only 24.48 percent of the total 2,688 cases pending for more than five years.
According to the Supreme Court statistics, there are 22,279 unsettled cases at the end of the fiscal year 2015/2016, compared to 21,829 cases at the end of fiscal year 2014/2015.
The court registered 11,052 new cases during the fiscal year 2015/2016, with the total number of unsettled cases at the apex court standing at 32,881.
According to Supreme Court Spokesperson Nahakul Subedi, the court settled 11,161 cases in the fiscal year 2015/2016. "The Supreme Court had set a target of settling 8,014 cases in the fiscal year and we are ahead of the target this year," he said.
However, Subedi admitted that the number tolled high because of the settlement of a large number of review petitions. Among the 8,008 petitions registered demanding review on the verdicts, the Supreme Court settled 5,569 petitions in the fiscal year 2015/2016.
Among the 17,081 cases appealed at the apex court challenging the lower courts verdicts, the Supreme Court settled only 2,669 cases at the end of the fiscal year 2015/2016.
Likewise, only 893 writ petitions were settled in the fiscal year, whereas the total number of writ petitions was 4,531. Among the unsettled cases, 9,453 cases are pending for more than two years.
Spokesperson Subedi said that shortage of justices was the main reason behind the low case settlement. "There are only nine justices at the apex court at present. The low number of justice results into low number of benches," said Subedi.
Subedi also said that the bench management, appointment of lead lawyers and fulfilling the vacant positions of justices could help solve the problem.