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New Delhi: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said the number of pending cases across various courts could touch the five crore mark in a couple of months.

Expressing concern over the issue of pendency, he said while such cases are likely to come down in the Supreme Court and high courts, the “real challenge” is in the lower courts.

Addressing an event at the Delhi High Court in the presence of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, the minister said the number of pending cases is inching towards the five crore mark and flagged the issue of inadequate infrastructure in lower courts.

Till a few months back, the pending cases were estimated at 4.83 crores.

“I try to analyse about the bottleneck when we take the numbers. It is inching towards the five crore pendency. It is a matter of great concern,” he said.

Rijiju said he has to reply on the pendency issue in Parliament and elsewhere.

“It is really difficult for me to answer … it is about to reach five crore. At the present rate, maybe it will take another couple of months to reach the five crore figure, which does not sound nice,” he said.

The majority of the cases are pending with the subordinate judiciary.

“I feel the pendency in the SC and the HCs will come down, but the real challenge is in the lower courts. The infrastructure in the lower courts is a real challenge for me and that is the responsibility of the central government and the state governments together,” he said.

Rijiju said he clearly sees that in the very near future, the Indian judiciary will go paperless.

A digital judiciary will have a huge impact on the justice delivery mechanism, he underlined.

He said the judicial process is time-consuming. However, once all documents are available at the click of a button, things will become faster.

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