The family courts of Kerala holds the highest number of pending matrimonial disputes with over 52,000 cases awaiting judgement. This was the data gathered at the end of November 2016 by the Department of Justice (D0J). Though the courts have closed 50,000 such cases in 2015 but still holds the maximum backlog in comparison to other state courts.
Family courts deal with divorce cases, issuing orders on alimony, ordering custody of children and restitution of conjugal rights. These are meant to offer an efficient and quick mechanism to deal with such issues.
There are 28 state courts in the entire Kerala state. According to the data compiled by the DoJ, the courts settled 43,914 cases in 2013, 53,564 in 2014 and 51,288 in 2015. But in the year 2016, there are 52,446 cases which are still pending.
It means that Kerala, whose population is even less than 3 percent of India’s, has more pending cases than the states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan — states that collectively has more than half of India’s total population.
Kerala has now succeeded Tamil Nadu in this term. Tamil Nadu stands at the fifth position with 37,618 pending cases. However, TN was on top in the year 2013 and 2014. More than 40,000 cases were settled in Tamil Nadu between 2013-15.
After Kerala, Bihar is at the second space with 50,847 pending cases in the family court. However, the Bihar courts’ disposal is not at all satisfactory. All the 39 Bihar courts have disposed off 12,717 cases in 2013, 13,506 in 2014 and 13,756 in 2015, of matrimonial disputes.
Third comes Madhya Pradesh with 46,866 pending cases while Maharashtra along with Diu, Daman, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, comes after MP with 45,690 cases.
The state with the highest population and almost seven times that of Kerala, Uttar Pradesh has only 5,466 cases pending in its 76 family courts. This minimum pendency resulted after 2 lakh cases were settled between 2013 and 2015. Also, the state family courts settled 1.19 lakh cases in 2015 alone.
States like Karnataka, Odisha, Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have occupied positions six to ten in the list of top ten states with the highest number of matrimonial cases.
States like Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have no family courts, as stated by the Department of Justice while for the states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan statistics on disposal was not available.