IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Judicial Infrastructure  

4th December, 2021 Polity

Figure 1: No Copyright Infringement Intended


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

Court Interventions

  • It mooted the idea of an “umbrella national organisation” that would take care of the need for judicial infrastructure.. it asked to think of constituting a sort of council on judicial infrastructure.
  • Court is not 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.
  • Such a corporation would bring the uniformity and standardisation required to revolutionise judicial infrastructure.


Genesis and Need of Judicial Infrastructure:

  • The idea for such an agency was first proposed by CJI Ramana in March this year, even before he took office.
  • Soon after he was sworn in, the CJI commenced work on the NJIC and a survey of 6,000 trial courts in various states was undertaken as part of this exercise.
  • budgetary allocation for state judiciary often lapses since there is no independent body to supervise and execute works related to improving court premises.  NJIC is expected to fill this vacuum and overcome problems related to infrastructure.
  • The basic idea behind NJIC is not to leave HC chief justices — who mostly undertake infrastructure-related projects in trial courts — at the mercy of state governments.
  • the NJIC will be an “honest” agency that will monitor the execution of work for which the funds are earmarked.


Meaning of Judicial Infrastructure:

  • An efficient “judicial infrastructure” means providing equal and free access to justice.
  • This could be realised through a “barrier-free and citizen-friendly environment


Status of Judicial Infrastructure in India:

  • Only 27 per cent of courtrooms in the subordinate judiciary have computers on judges’ dias.
  • there are still 10 per cent courts that do not have access to proper internet facilities.
  • 22 per cent trial court complexes do not have any toilet facilities for women while 16 per cent don’t have such a facility for men either.
  • there are approximately 24,280 judicial officers in trial courts but only 20,143 court halls.
  • About 55 per cent of the trial courts surveyed have a separate room for the staff attached to judges while 54 per cent are equipped with drinking water facilities.
  • Only 55 per cent courts have centralised filing centres and 31 per cent have meditation halls.
  • Most court complexes also do not have a waiting area for litigants with only 33 per cent buildings with this facility.


Reasons behind 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 and was extended for another five years in July this year.
  • 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.
  • states have also transferred part of the fund for non-judicial purposes.
  • Even in the judiciary, particularly trial courts, nobody is willing to take responsibility to execute infrastructure projects.
  • Most district judges, who head trial courts, also do not vigorously pursue development projects due to short-term appointments and transferable jobs among others.