Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana speaks on Sunday at the inauguration of two wings of the annex building at the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court. Law Minister Kiran Rijiju, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and judges of the Supreme Court were also present there at the inauguration ceremony.
CJI Ramana laid great emphasis on improving the crappy infrastructure of the judiciary during his speech at the ceremony. CJI urges Union Minister of Law Kiren Rijiju to ensure that the proposal to create the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India (NJIAI) with statutory backing is taken up in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.
Chief Justice Ramana mentioned in his speech that, “Good judicial infrastructure for courts in India has always been an afterthought. It is because of this mindset that courts in India still operate from dilapidated structures, making it difficult to effectively perform their function. Judicial infrastructure is important for improving access to justice and to meet the growing demands of the public that is more aware of its rights and is developing economically, socially, and culturally. It is baffling to note that the improvement and maintenance of judicial infrastructure are still being carried out in an ad-hoc and unplanned manner.”
Mr. Ramana presented the harsh reality of judicial infrastructure by saying that, “The total sanctioned strength of judicial officers in the country is 24,280 and the number of court halls available is 20,143 (including 620 rented halls); 26% of court complexes do not have separate ladies’ toilets and 16% do not have gents’ toilets; only 54% of court complexes have purified drinking water facility; only 5% of court complexes have basic medical facilities; only 32% of courtrooms have separate record rooms; only 51% of court complexes have a library; only 27% of courtrooms have computer placed on the Judge’s dais with the video-conferencing facility. According to international research published in 2018, failure to deliver timely justice cost the country as much as 9% of annual GDP.”
The CJI mentioned that the need for an additional court complex at the Aurangabad Bench was identified as early as 2011, at a meeting convened by the then senior-most judge in the Bench. He added, “That it has taken more than 10 years for this vision to be implemented is extremely worrisome. This is not the fault of any institution or organ of the State but is emblematic of a deeper structural problem that has plagued judicial infrastructure development in our country since Independence.”
Mr. Ramana also said people should be aware or never feel any hesitation in approaching the courts and goes on in his speech with these words, “It is high time that we make efforts to remove the taboo associated with approaching courts for the affirmation of their rights. The common man deals with multiple legal issues during his lifetime. One must never feel hesitant to approach courts. After all, people’s faith in the judiciary is the biggest strength of democracy,"