NEW DELHI: While regular courts in India are battling a huge backlog of cases, there has been a decent reduction in the pendency of cases in the country’s labour courts. The pendency of cases in the country’s 22 labour courts has come down from 13,864 to 12,798. This, despite the fact that the labour courts received more fresh cases in the Financial Year 2016-2017 when compared to the previous FY of 2015-2016. According to government statistics, the labour courts received 1246 cases in 2016-2017 as against 1,976 cases in the previous FY. Also, the labour courts had a higher pendency in last year’s FY as against the pendency in the previous year. In 2016-2017, the labour courts had a backlog of 13,853 cases as compared to the backlog of 13,717 cases in 2016-2017.
Pertinently, the pendency of cases in the District and Subordinate Courts of the country has increased from 2.64 crore cases in the year 2014 to 2.74 crore cases in the year 2016. The cities which have the maximum pendency in the country’s labour courts are Chennai, Dhanbad and Ahmedabad. The data was disclosed in the Lok Sabha on Monday by Minister of Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattareya in a written reply on the subject.
In the FY 2016-2017, Chennai had the highest pendency with 2135 cases pending in its labour court. There has been a steep increase in the pendency of court at Chennai as according to the union labour ministry’s data, Tamil Nadu’s capital city only had some 244 pending cases in the previous Financial Year (FY) of 2015-2016. Right behind Chennai in terms of pendency are the two labour courts in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad with a total of 1730 cases. The high number of industrial disputes in the city stems from it having some of the largest coal mines in India. A lot of cases related to rights of coal mine workers are pending in Dhanbad’s labour courts though it recorded a drop in the pendency of its cases when compared to 2015-2016 when it had some 1920 cases pending. Closely following Dhanbad in pendency is Ahmedabad with 1690 cases despite showing a significant improvement in the pendency of cases as it had the highest pendency of labour dispute cases in 2015-2016 with 2,230 cases.
Of the total 22 labour courts in the country, 13 recorded a reduction in pendency in the FY 2016-2017. These included the labour courts in West Bengal’s Asansol, Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur and Lucknow, Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur, Andhra Pradesh’s Hyderabad, Odisha’s Bhubaneshwar, Rajasthan's Jaipur, Kerala’s Ernakulam, Gujrat’s Ahmedabad and the two labour courts each in Maharashtra's Mumbai and Jharkhand’s Dhanbad. The five labour courts which performed best in disposing of cases were the courts in Ahmedabad, Jabalpur and Dhanbad. In FY 2016-2017, the court in Ahmedabad finished 597 cases followed by Jabalpur’s court which disposed of 343 cases. One of the labour courts in Dhanbad ranked third in terms of its disposal as it decided 206 cases in the FY 2016-2017.
The 22 labour courts were set up under the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 as Central Government Industrial Tribunal cum-Labour Courts (CGIT-cum-LCs) in various states for resolution of industrial disputes. Out of these, two CGIT-cum-LCs one at Mumbai and the second at Kolkata also function as National Industrial Tribunals (NITs).