New Delhi: Chief Justice NV Ramana raised concerns about the judicial infrastructure when he was sharing the stage with Law Minister Kiren Rijiju. He said that the judicial infrastructure for courts in India has always been an afterthought.
CJI urged the Law Minister to ensure that the proposal to set up the national Judicial Infrastructure Authority is addressed in the winter session of parliament, reported NDTV. He added that there is a mindset that courts in India still operate with dilapidated structures which makes the system difficult to perform effectively.
He also noted that the "failure to deliver timely justice can cost the country as much as 9% of the annual GDP" and cited international research from 2018.
The Chief Justice of India further said that courts are not only for criminals but common people also. The infrastructure is important for improving access to justice and to meet the growing demands of the public, reported NDTV.
"It's baffling to note that the improvement and maintenance of judicial infrastructure are still being carried out in an ad-hoc and unplanned manner. The financial autonomy of the Judiciary is integral," said NV Ramana.
Justice Ramana pointed out that only 5% of the court complexes in the country have basic medical aid. "26% of the courts don't have separate toilets for women and 16% of courts don't even have toilets for men." He further said that nearly half the court complexes do not have a library and another 46% do not have the facility to purify water.
The CJI had earlier made a similar request regarding the judicial system. Last time, he asked the Law Minister to speed up the approval for the recommendations made by the Supreme Court collegium for the appointments of judges in high courts.
The Law Minister had earlier stated that there is no politics when it comes to the judiciary. "We are just different organs of the system, but we are a team."
Justice Ramana said that the government and judicial system should make efforts to remove the taboo associated with approaching courts because people's faith in the judiciary is the biggest strength of democracy.