NATIONAL JUDICIAL INFRASTRUCTURE CORPORATION
Chief Justice of Supreme court of India suggested one central agency- National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation, with a degree of autonomy, for overseeing infrastructure development of subordinate courts in India
STATUS OF THE JUDICIAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Chief Justice of India’s office conducted an all-India survey to know the status of the Judicial Infrastructure in Trial Courts.
According to the survey
- Only 27% of courtrooms in the subordinate judiciary have computers on judges’ dias
- 10% of courts that do not have access to proper internet facilities
- 22% of trial court complexes do not have any toilet facilities for women
- 16% don’t have such a facility for men either
- There are 620 court complexes that still operate from rented premises
- Only 54% of the total complexes have basic medical facilities.
Reason behind judicial infrastructure lag
- To develop judicial infrastructure, funds are extended by the central government and states under the Centrally-Sponsored Scheme for Development of Judiciary Infrastructure which began in 1993.
- Under the scheme, the ratio of fund sharing between the Centre and state is 60:40 for all states except those in the Northeast and the Himalayan region where it is 90:10.
- However, states do not come forward with their share of funds and consequently, money allocated under the scheme is often left unspent with them and lapses.
- Of a total of ₹981.98 crore sanctioned in 2019-20 under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) to the States and Union Territories for development of infrastructure in the courts, only ₹84.9 crore was utilised by a combined five States, rendering the remaining 91.36% funds unused.
- This underutilisation of funds is not an anomaly induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The issue has been plaguing the Indian judiciary for nearly three decades when the CSS was introduced in 1993-94.