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Inadequacy Infrastructure In Indian Courts

  • According to the Chief Justice of India, developing a strong judicial infrastructure for Indian courts has always been a secondary concern. Because of this mentality, courts in India continue to function in outdated buildings, making it impossible for them to carry out their duties properly, as was noted on October 23, 2021 during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Bombay High Court Bench's Aurangabad expansion wing building.
     
  • Chief Justice of India proposes one central organization with some power to manage the construction of subordinate courts' infrastructure. Only a combined five States used 84.9 crores of the total 981.98 crores sanctioned in 2019-20 under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for the construction of court facilities, leaving the majority(91.36%) of funds unutilized. This underutilization of funds is not a COVID-19 pandemic-related aberration. When the CSS was first implemented in 1993-1994, the problem had already been affecting the Indian judiciary for about 30 years.
     
  • The proposal for the creation of the NJIAI had been forwarded to the Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Chief Justice of India stated that he wished for a good solutionshortly. Additionally, he has requested Kiren Rijiju, minister of law and justice, to quicken the procedure and see to it that the legislation to establish the NJIAI is discussed during the winter session of Parliament. According to the Chief Justice of India, the institutionalization of the process for enhancing and developing cutting-edge judicial infrastructure is the finest present we can conceive of offering to our people and our nation in this 75th year of our Independence.
     
  • The infrastructure of the Indian judiciary has not kept up with the enormous volume of lawsuits filed annually. A conclusion is reinforced by the fact that although there are 24,280 authorized judicial officials in the nation, there are only 20,143 rooms of the courts available, including 620 rented halls. Additionally, there are only 17,800 residential units available for court officials, including 3,988 rentals. Up to 26% of court facilities lack separate restrooms for women, while 16% of lack male restrooms. Only 51% of court complexes feature libraries, and only 32% of rooms of the courts have separate record rooms. Only 51% of court complexes include a library, and only 5% of court complexes have basic medical services. Only 27% of rooms of the courts have a computer stationed on the judge's dais with a videoconferencing capacity, despite the epidemic forcing the majority of courts to adopt a hybrid form of hearing, that combines physical and videoconferencing modes.
     
  • The Centre informed the Supreme Court on 26th April, 2022 that problems like the absence of adequate infrastructure to meet the expanding needs of the judiciary and the bar in the national capital can be examined in conjunction with the supreme court registry. The overcrowding in the hallway of the Supreme Court was described as dreadful by a bench made up of Justice Vineet Saran and J. K. Mahesction. We don't walk through the hallways. They also suggested that the federal government take action. The bench stated that the Centre must take action and that it is not the court's responsibility to provide a solution.
     
  • In his appearance on behalf of the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta claimed that the case was not adversarial and that he was in contact with the government. He added that the matter might be heard within four weeks. The bench took notice of the arguments and stated that the Centre might examine the issues raised in the plea after consulting with the petitioner's attorney and the registry of the supreme court. In a PIL filed by bar leader Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad on March 8, 2022, the top court requested responses from the Centre and the apex court's registry in order to address the growing demand for judicial infrastructure for all courts, including the subordinate judiciary, tribunals, the Delhi High Court, and the bar in the national capital. The bench then scheduled the PIL for a hearing on July 20.
     
  • The bench stated on 25th April, 2022 that it needed to know the Central government's position on the plea, and it set the topic for discussion with the solicitor general on Tuesday. The PIL asked to develop a judicial vista close to the apex court's premises. The PIL has also sought direction fromthe Ministry of Law and Justice and the Housing and Urban Affairs to constitute a central authority, funded by the Consolidated Fund of India, to cater to the need for judicial infrastructure under the administrative control of the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
     
  • The argument made in the petition claimed that the lack of judicial infrastructure-rooms of the courts, basic amenities, etc.-for judges, attorneys, and litigants in the subordinate judiciary and tribunals across the nation is a very serious problem and that the judiciary's lack of independence in this regard and its reliance on the federal government and state governments undermines the cause of judicial independence. The National Judicial Infrastructure Authority must be established because judicial infrastructure independence is crucial to advancing the cause of judicial independence and is one of the most fundamental constitutional rights.
     
  • Article 14, which establishes the Rule of Law as the cornerstone of the administration of justice, is the most important provision in the Constitution. Given the amount of work the nation's top court gets and the growing Bar, realising the rule of law hinges on having an adequate and proper infrastructure. It has asked for the building of a sizable, multi-level courthouse complex with 45 to 50 rooms, each equipped with video conferencing technology and enough seats for litigants, attorneys, law clerks, and interns. A multi-level structure with 5000 chambers for senior attorneys, attorneys-on-record, and attorneys, as well as the necessary amenities, has also been requested. In addition, the petition demanded adequate creche facilities to accommodate the numerous women.
     
  • An analysis of the infrastructure in 12 district courts in New Delhi and the NCR revealed many basic amenities lacking, including restrooms, guide maps, and ramps for the physically disabled, underscoring the need for a more in-depth discussion on how Indian courts are constructed and maintained. Political, social, and economic factors are frequently discussed in discussions access to justice, but accessibility and comfort in physical access are rarely discussed. Unfortunately, the Indian judiciary continues to under-analyse the topic of physical infrastructure.



Conclusion/Solution
Consequently, providing more accessible navigational aids, sanitary restrooms, many facilities permitting barrier-free access for people with disabilities, and inadequate security features for rooms of the courts is the option for improving the circumstances of Indian courts:

  1. In addition to ordering the construction of new courts, the Supreme Court should require all High Courts to produce yearly infrastructure status reports that include information on budgetary expenditures and actions to maintain and renovate current court facilities. District Courts should be required by High Courts to follow suit.
     
  2. In collaboration with the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation can revitalize the Swachh Nyayalaya program.
     
  3. The National Court Management System(NCMS) study is outdated and does not consider what is needed for contemporary court complexes. The Supreme Court must reassemble the NCMS and update the baseline report to reflect current requirements.
     
  4. The public and litigants need a forum to hear their complaints. To do this, the Ministry of Law and Justice can develop a platform on the current Bhuvan-Nyaya Vikas webpage to solicit visitor comments to courthouses. To handle complaints from litigants and users, each district court shall establish an infrastructure grievance redressal cell and select an appropriate authority from the Registry inside the court complexes. The High Courts may supervise establishing such grievance redressal cells in each district court within their authority.
     
  5. The NCMS study suggests that a guidance map, facilitation, welcome centre, and a document filing counter should be located near the complex's entrance. Only two features-a tour map and a help desk-were included in the study, which was limited to looking at whether each court complex possessed them. Only 20% of district courts (133 out of 665) had maps, and only 45% of court complexes (300 out of 665) had assistance desks. West Bengal and Sikkim were two states with the poorest overall performance on this metric.
     
  6. Every district court complex should include a dedicated waiting room for litigants and the general public, according to the NCMS study. Bihar and Rajasthan were the two states with the fewest courthouses with designated waiting spaces. Only 54%, or 361 district court complexes, had designated waiting for places, despite this being a fundamental necessity. Bihar and Rajasthan were the two states with the fewest courthouses with designated waiting spaces.
     
  7. Information about the courtroom number, the presiding judge, and the active case number is shown on an electronic case display board. An electronic case display board should be present upon admission and in the waiting rooms, according to the NCMS study. Electronic case display boards at the entrance and waiting rooms were present in just 26% of the court facilities.
     
  8. The NCMS study recommends separate, well-maintained, gender-segregated restrooms for litigants, guests, and attorneys. The least amount of court complexes with working toilets was found in Goa, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Mizoram. There were only men's restrooms at about 100 district court facilities. The unhygienic conditions in court complexes are also a sign that government programs like SwacchNyayalayas, which were meant to build and maintain restrooms in 16,000 court buildings, have failed.
     
  9. According to the NCMS study, court facilities must have an accessible architecture that is universal and adaptable to local demands and situations. On this metric, the majority of district court facilities did poorly. Only 27%, or 180 court complexes, had ramps or elevators for access. In comparison, only 11%, or 73 court complexes, had bathrooms specifically for people with disabilities, and only 2%, or 13 court complexes, had features for visual aids.


Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Kishan Dutt Kalaskar
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: SP42147995072-13-0922

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