The fact is that not really serious view has been taken by the civil society of the importance of judiciary in a democratic state. Despite the fact that it is one of the three organs of the State yet somehow its presence has not been correctly projected. If not a healthy impression has been created about the courts and judicial system in the State, we have to look to the conditions in which our courts function.
Comptroller and Auditor General has recently tabled a report in the Legislature dealing with the status of judicial infrastructure in the State. Judicial infrastructure does not mean only the court rooms where the judges sit and hear the cases. It is a complex with many wings and branches and all put together makes the court infrastructure. The CAG has painted a dismal picture of the court structures which it visited for preparing the report. It observes that physical condition of 64% court buildings is either poor or very poor in Jammu and Kashmir and 20% courts are functioning either from private buildings or buildings of other departments. Moreover, an expenditure of Rs 157.37 crore was incurred without obtaining building permissions from the concerned authorities.
After going through the report we gather the idea that the entire concept about the judicial infrastructure has to change. The infrastructure that we have at present is primitive and obsolete if not degrading. It is unimaginable that a court functions from rented house. Nothing is more despicable. The dignity and grace of a court has to be maintained and physical appearance of a court of law has great impact on the people who come to seek justice. The chamber of lawyers should have state of art furniture and furnishing, sanitary facilities, restaurant and retiring rooms. It is surprising that our courts do not have adequate libraries where besides law books other literature is also preserved. What does a court complex mean without a reading room for the functionaries and the lawyers? The court complex should have auditoriums for symposia and lectures by eminent lawyers for the judicial fraternity and interested people in the town.
We hope that the Legislative Assembly will take due cognizance of the observations made by the CAG in its report on judicial infrastructure but at the same time we also expect the law makers to strongly recommend modernization of court infrastructure in the State on a long term basis because it is a matter of planning, funding and execution.