SC issues directions to revamp judicial infrastructure

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New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a slew of directions to revamp judicial infrastructure and the quality of justice administration in courts across the country, saying strengthening of court infrastructure requires immediate attention.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed that professionally qualified court managers, preferably with an MBA degree, be appointed in judicial districts to assist in court administration.

It said such 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, the bench held.

The court took noted that improving the quality of judicial infrastructure is an area that has been given relatively low importance. Strengthening of court infrastructure requires "immediate attention" in the form of planning, enhanced budgeting and structured implementation.

The court in its order stated: "It brings us to the focal point, i.e. judicial infrastructure which has been given relatively low importance. Most of the states are making budgetary provision as low as less than 1 per cent of their total budget for the judiciary."

The court's direction came on a plea relating to the infrastructure of courts, particularly the subordinate courts across India.

The bench said the provision of basic infrastructure facilities in all court complexes is essential, as infrastructure forms the core for efficient and efficacious dispensation of speedy and qualitative justice.

The apex court said the court complex should have administrative offices, a mediation centre, proper parking space, canteens, air-conditioning, drinking water, adequate restrooms for men, women, transgenders and differently abled persons.

All court premises must establish a working and fully operational help desk at major alighting points with trained court staff. There should also be maps and floor plans of the entire court complex at entry and exit points and visible signages.

Creche facility at nominal rates for toddlers, falling within the age group of 6 months to 6 years must also be available.

The court said a copy of the order should be sent to the Chief Secretaries of each state, with a direction to constitute a committee to formulate a development plan.

The bench posted the matter for August 23.