13th Finance Comm recommendation on creation of 28 courts gathering dust

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 28: The recommendation of 13th Finance Commission regarding creation of 28 courts in Jammu and Kashmir has been gathering dust during the past three years despite the fact that funds in this regard are to be borne by the Government of India. Even at present, there are doubts about these courts coming up in near future because of varied reasons including the demands of the politicians for opening up of courts in those areas, which deserve the same on the basis of population and workload on the existing courts.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that 13th Finance Commission in its report had recommended opening of 28 Morning and Evening Courts in Jammu and Kashmir with the observation that improvement of justice delivery can be done by supporting the judiciary.
“The creation of additional courts was also recommended in the light of huge pendency of the cases and the need to dispose of current filings at the rapid pace in order to prevent accumulation of arrears”, they further said. The 13th Finance Commission had also stated that court working hours could be increased by using the existing infrastructure by holding morning/evening/shift courts, sources added.
The 13th Finance Commission was of the observation that district and subordinate courts have been disposing off both important as well as petty cases and the pressure on the judicial time on account of petty cases can be relieved by allotting them to Morning and Evening Courts.
However, the Jammu and Kashmir did not find the setting up of Morning and Evening Courts as suitable due to security reasons. However, the State decided to start 28 courts—–14 each of Mobile Magistrates and Special Mobile Magistrates, they informed.
After getting green signal in this regard, the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of the State Government issued order for creation of 24 courts in the year 2011 and thereafter the High Court was approached for identification of locations where these courts would have to be set-up.
Since 2011, no significant progress has been made in establishing these courts. “Though the High Court has identified the locations and conveyed the same to the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs yet no step forward could be taken till date because of numerous issues, which are required to be addressed before going ahead with implementing the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission”, sources said.
“Though High Court is going to have around 30 Munsiffs very shortly to run 14 courts of Mobile Magistrates yet how these courts would be made functional in the absence of infrastructure remains a million dollar question”, they said. Another hurdle, which will further delay the implementation of 13th Finance Commission recommendations, is the persistent demands from politicians including Ministers and MLAs regarding opening of Munsiff courts in those areas, which deserve the same on the basis of population and workload on the existing courts.
It is pertinent to mention here that this issue too figured in the recent State Cabinet meeting wherein some Ministers laid stress on having rationale approach in opening of new courts.
In response to a question, sources said, “these 28 courts were recommended by the Finance Commission for the period from 2010 to 2015 and whether State Government would be able to derive benefit within the remaining period of two years is also a big question mark”.

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