The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from both its administrative wing, as well as the Centre, over a petition seeking creation of a Judicial Vista around the existing premises of the Apex Court, besides a Central authority to fund the judicial infrastructure.
A Bench comprising Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Aniruddha Bose issued notice in the PIL filed by Supreme Court Advocate-On-Record Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad, who appeared in person.
Taking in consideration the space crunch in the existing premises for judges, advocates as well as litigants, the petitioner urged for redevelopment of the area around the Supreme Court as a Judicial Vista.
It further sought creation of an authority, to be regulated and funded by the Centre, entirely out of the Consolidated Fund of India, to allocate resources for the development of judicial infrastructure at courts and tribunals across the country.
Pointing out that workload and the number of judges, advocates and litigants have only increased whereas the size of the premises has not, the plea called for the construction of:
· A multi-level complex with 45-50 courtrooms and 5,000 chambers for senior lawyers;
· 10,000 car capacity underground parking facility;
· Adequate office, working and waiting space for law officers, advocates, standing counsel;
· Library, medical and photocopying facilities;
· Dedicated office space for all lawyer associations and bar councils.
In March 2021, the then Justice and now Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, reflecting on the poor conditions at some courts, had said that the Central and the State governments should come together to create a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation to cater to the rising need for judicial infrastructure in the country.
“Talking of impediments in the path of modernisation, financial constraints must never come in the path of progress. There is a need for the Centre and States to co-operate and create a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation, as a one- time measure, to cater to the need for judicial infrastructure in the country. Such a corporation would bring the uniformity and standardisation required to revolutionize judicial infrastructure”
-he had said.
In February this year, the CJI had called out the lack of adequate support from the government in improving the judicial infrastructure in the country.
The CJI had said that mere allocation of funds will not be enough for the same and an institutional mechanism needs to be put in place for coordinating and overseeing the improvement of judicial infrastructure.
“Mere allocation of funds is not enough. The challenge is to put the available resources to optimum use. I have been pursuing the government for setting up of statutory authorities, both at the Centre and at the States. I am hoping for a positive response soon,”
While judicial infrastructure needs to be improved, they have unfortunately not been meeting the basic minimum standards in the area, he had said.
The petitioner-in-person is the secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association and came up with this vision of Judicial Vista, which will help in shaping future advocates by giving this standard of work environment.Ardhendumauli-Kumar-Prasad-Versus-Supreme-Court-of-India-Ors-W.PC-No.-1245-of-2021