Judicial infrastructure


There is absolutely no scope for any two opinions about the judiciary having a proper, reasonably facilities oriented, spacious and well designed infrastructure. To make imparting of justice to the seekers in courts smooth and effective , it is mandatory that the Judicial Officers as well as the staff perform from well built court rooms and where associated facilities are provided starting from parking facilities , wash rooms, pure drinking water, cafeteria , ATMs and other Banking facilities and even centres of Primary Health Services. It is a sad commentary upon those who were helming the affairs all these decades to having ignored this requirement of our courts to expect still better output . Call it a peculiar mindset or lack of political and administrative will in not having addressed this problem till date. It is again a travesty that there should be problems of space for 20 percent of judges just to sit and function properly, if the data about the same is to be believed. Comparing it with numerous instances where Political leaders in power furnishing and refurbishing their bungalows and spending lavishly from out of the public exchequer and in many cases enjoying ”retention” of even more than one bungalow but forgetting whether our judicial officers had reasonably well and spacious court rooms to conduct proceedings and disposing of court matters, is really rueable. Why has all these decades this idea or suggestion not having sprouted from any corner to grant financial autonomy to a certain limit to the courts depending upon their classifications . That could take care of not only of sundry but unavoidable expenditures on day to day basis but for purposes of undertaking urgent and necessary repairs, renovation and face-lifting of the existing buildings. An autonomous Infrastructure Development Institute or a Body with any other nomenclature under the overall control of the judiciary , if established, could well take care of issues of buildings, ambiance, premises and allied matters having standard but uniform designing and pattern throughout the country to distinguish a court building from various others . This Institute or Corporation must have on its staff – professional engineers, architects, designers and the like and must have proper funds allocation from both the central and as well as State Governments coupled with capital raised from its own sources depending upon its structure and shape.That still, there are a few pre-independence era buildings, naturally now in dilapidated conditions, housing courts is really unfortunate. Assertions of the Chief Justice of India while inaugurating a new court building complex in Aurangabad, Maharashtra recently are worth diving deep into the entire scenario of the infrastructural requirements of our judiciary . Resorting to ad-hoc and patch working and having no consistency in the approach towards the housing of courts and other related infrastructure not only results in affecting an expected effective performance and justice delivery but a feeling among the judicial officers of being subjected to improper protocol of working facilities befitting a Judicial officer. Why should, therefore, a high powered commission not be constituted comprising among others, members from judiciary too whether serving or retired,to opine and recommend on the issue? The terms of reference should be broad based so as to prepare a comprehensive report based on findings and gathering first hand information along with the views of the advocates and the litigants. Such a report with due recommendations but in a well calculated timeframe must be perused by the Government and accordingly acted upon after accepting or approving the recommendations including formation of a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation / Board /Authority . That will smoothen and facilitate the process of addressing the vital issue of judicial infrastructure . The other partof the situation is that the public as litigants are more interested in seeing that they got justice, at least as early as possible, who nurse apprehensions that what guarantee was there that proper buildings , spacious court rooms and the like would enable the existing judicial system dispose of the cases slightly quickly . They argue that all courts are not functioning from old, worn out and dilapidated buildings but most of the courts operate from better and spacious buildings with attractive ambiance , the rate of pendency of court cases there is no less from the ones operating from old and less spacious buildings. As one of the Judges of the Supreme Court, in the same venue in Aurangabad, highlighted the issue of pendency of court cases and lamented about no introspection being there about how to address the issue of the pendency of court cases across the country vindicates the expectations of common and ordinary litigants in respect of the fate of pending cases . That, there are court cases even more than three decades old still pending in courts speaks more and beyond the issue of improper, insufficient and inadequate infrastructure. People have unflinching and deep faith in the judiciary to protect their rights and to get justice which is unfortunately becoming costlier day by day and that casts a long shadow on the very purpose of a healthy and responsive judicial system. No wonder that not only is there a need to provide basic facilities of good and spacious court rooms and court buildings but a streamlining and reorganization of the justice delivery mechanism. Only then, shall democracy get strengthened and protected in the real sens