India has court backlog of 40 million cases, chief justice says

A lawyer holds a book as he waits to enter the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai April 16, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

NEW DELHI, April 30 (Reuters) - India has more than 40 million cases pending in lower courts, the country's chief justice said on Saturday, highlighting a huge backlog in the legal system.

Courts were falling short of judges crucial to their efficient function, NV Ramana told a conference attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of most states.

"We have 20 judges per million population, which is highly inadequate to deal with the rising trend of litigation," Ramana said.

Many of the 24,000 approved positions for judicial officers on India's lower courts remain unfilled, Ramana said, without specifying a number.

Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty in New Delhi; Editing by William Mallard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.