The Supreme Court on August 2, 2018 issued a slew of directions to revamp judicial infrastructure and the quality of justice administration in courts across the country.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud ruled that the strengthening of court infrastructure requires the immediate attention in the form of planning, enhanced budgeting and structured implementation.
Appointment of qualified court managers
• The apex court directed that professionally qualified court managers, preferably with an MBA degree, shall be appointed in judicial districts to assist in court administration.
• The court managers would help in identifying the weaknesses in the court management system and recommend workable steps for rectifying the same.
• The services of any person already working as a court manager in any district should be regularised by the state government, as their assistance is needed for a proper administrative setup in a court.
Highlights of the Ruling
• The court noted that improving the quality of judicial infrastructure is an area that has been given relatively low importance. Most of the states are making budgetary provision as low as less than 1 percent of their total budget for the judiciary.
• The provision of basic infrastructure facilities in all courts is essential as infrastructure forms the core for efficient dispensation of speedy and qualitative justice.
• The court complex should have administrative offices, a mediation centre, canteens, air-conditioning, and drinking water.
• Court premises must have sufficient and proper parking space. All upcoming court complexes must have sufficient underground and surface parking facilities segregated into four broad categories for judges, court staff, lawyers and litigants.
• The courts should have a proper atmosphere for children and vulnerable witnesses.
• CCTV cameras should be placed at proper locations within the court complex.
• The district court complex should have a dispensary with adequate medical staff and equipment.
• There shall be solar power installation in each district court premises initially and thereafter, the same should spread to all other courts.
• There should be adequate restrooms for men, women, transgenders and differently abled persons.
• All court premises must establish a working and fully operational help desk at major points with trained court staff.
• There should be maps and floor plans of the entire court complex at entry and exit points and visible signages.
• Creche facility must also be available at nominal rates for toddlers falling within the age group of 6 months to 6 years.
• The court also said that the copy of this order should be sent to the Chief Secretaries of all the states with a direction to constitute a committee to formulate a development plan.
The court's direction came on a plea relating to the infrastructure of courts, particularly the subordinate courts across India.
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