Funds shortage creates hurdle in timely development of infrastructure for judiciary

Meagre hike in allocation under CSS worries Govt

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Aug 9: The shortage of funds is creating hurdle in timely development of infrastructure for the judiciary in Jammu and Kashmir with fate of 11 key projects is hanging in balance during the past several years. Moreover, meagre hike in allocation under Centrally Sponsored Scheme during the current financial year is preventing the Government from taking up new projects recommended by the State High Court.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that 11 projects were taken up for execution on the recommendations of the State High Court in different parts of the State three-four years back for providing better infrastructural facilities like court complexes with sufficient number of court rooms and residential accommodation to Judicial Officers.
“However, none of these projects has been completed till date due to shortage of funds”, they said, adding “for want of resources the State Government could not provide benefit of huge investment made in these projects so far to the judiciary. Moreover, nobody is in a position to specify as to when these projects will be completed and handed over to judiciary for their use”.
They informed that on one side the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has limited resources to meet the requirement of funds to bring these 11 projects to completion and on the other side there is meagre hike in the annual allocation under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Union Government is administering a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for development of infrastructure facilities for judiciary since the year 1993-94 in order to augment the resources of the State Governments in this regard. Under this scheme, the State is required to meet 10% share of the funded projects and bear the expenditure on acquisition of land and compensation to the land owners.
However, the allocation under this Centrally Sponsored Scheme has not been increased as per the requirements projected by the Jammu and Kashmir Government a number of times before the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, sources said while disclosing that the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had vociferously raised the issue of increasing allocation under this Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the Union Government but the demand was not considered by the Union Law Ministry.
Quoting an example of meagre allocation under this Centrally Sponsored Scheme, sources said that during 2017-18 financial year an amount of Rs 10 crore was released to the State but during the current financial year allocation has been increased by merely Rs 21 lakh, which is grossly inadequate even to complete under-execution projects.
“The State High Court has also recommended execution of three more projects aimed at providing better infrastructure facilities to the subordinate judiciary but in view of limited resources and meagre hike in Centrally Sponsored Scheme allocation the Government is finding it difficult to start the work on these three projects”, sources informed.
“Moreover, there is increasing demand for construction of chambers for the lawyers and funds to meet this requirement are required to be made available from State’s own resources as there is no provision for such types of works in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme”, they said.
When contacted, an officer of the Department of Law and Justice of State confirmed that funds constraints have been creating hurdles in completion of under-execution projects and start of work on new projects recommended by the High Court.
“Even the State Finance Department has not given substantial hike in the annual budget to the Department of Law and Justice”, he said, adding “had annual budget of the department been increased some of the projects could have been completed till date”.
About the computerization of lower courts, sources said that last year the Union Law Ministry had given Rs 10.59 crore but this year not even single penny has been given to the State for unknown reasons.