SC pushes for council on judicial infrastructure

The Supreme Court on Wednesday orally said courts cannot wait on the whims and fancies of the Government, but need a proper mechanism for funding the development of judicial infrastructure.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud gave Additional Solicitor General K.M. Natraj three weeks to consult with the Government and come back with a “line of thinking” on the issue.

“Why cannot you think of constituting a sort of council on judicial infrastructure? We are least interested in retaining control of the council. The benefit of having a senior judge or Chief Justice on it would be that they are in the know of things. The composition can be of the Union Minister for Law and Justice, the Secretary, Finance, etc. The States can also be represented,” the Bench told the law officer.

Funds disbursement

The court said the Centre should meet with the finance and law Secretaries of the States to know the status of disbursement of funds for the judiciary in each State.

It mooted the idea of an “umbrella national organisation” that would take care of the need for judicial infrastructure.

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana has been vocal in pushing the proposal for establishing the National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation to uniformly improve judicial facilities and access to justice.

“There is a need for the Centre and States to cooperate and create a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation, as a one-time measure, to cater to the need for judicial infrastructure in the country. Such a corporation would bring the uniformity and standardisation required to revolutionise judicial infrastructure,” Chief Justice Ramana had said in an address earlier this year.

The modernisation of judicial infrastructure did not mean building more courts or filling up vacancies or ploughing through vacancies. An efficient “judicial infrastructure” means providing equal and free access to justice. This could be realised through a “barrier-free and citizen-friendly environment”, he had said.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 11:07:30 am |