News: Recently, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) proposed a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation (NJIC) with corresponding bodies at the State level at the joint conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers.
Arguments in favour
The court complexes have a lot of inadequacies in India. There is a wide gulf between the available infrastructure and the justice needs of the people of India. The proposed NJIC would immensely help in augmenting facilities for the judiciary.
There are already some agreements on the idea of state-level bodies for the same purpose.
There are experiences that funds allocated to many states for judicial infrastructure remain unspent. The proposal did not find favour with many Chief Ministers.
There are apprehensions that a national body would usurp the powers of the executive. Therefore, the proposal did not find favour with many Chief Ministers.
Measures that can be taken in the future
The Chief Justice of India proposed to have adequate representation of the Union/States in the NJIC.
The state level bodies proposal is to be implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme (CSS), with the Centre and States sharing the burden on a 60:40 ratio. The allocated funds for proposed State-level bodies should be actively spent for speeding up implementation of the scheme.
It will naturally require greater coordination between States and the respective High Courts for creation of required infrastructure, especially for the lower judiciary.
The Government has to contribute a lot to reduce the burden of the judiciary. The Government should also focus on other challenges: pendency, chronic shortage of judges etc.
The government should implement court orders, leaving crucial questions to be decided by the courts.
The government should ensure broad-based consultation before passing legislation. This would reduce the litigation burden on the part of the courts.
The judiciary and the executive at the level of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers should have a conversation. It will infuse an atmosphere of cooperation for the judicial appointments, infrastructure upgradation and downsizing pendency in Indian courts.
Source: The post is based on an article “The court’s burden” published in the “The Hindu” on 04th May 2022.