Govt to improve judicial infrastructure

Days after his statements on reforms to do away with pendency of cases in courts, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Sunday highlighted the projects for judiciary, as part of which Rs 13,000 crore will be given to courts to improve infrastructure.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Moily said apart from the Rs 5,000 crore recommended by the 13th Finance Commission and approved by the Centre, an additional Rs 8,000 crore will be provided on a grant-in-aid one-time payment for improving court infrastructure in the country.

With the additional money, the states will be able to fill vacancies in the lower judiciary to speed up disposal of pending cases.

“Initiatives have already been taken for upgradation of district court infrastructure, training  of judicial officers and setting up of judicial academies in different states,” he said. Of the Rs 5,000 crore, 50 per cent will be given in the first year and the rest in four years.

He said more e-courts will be set up for early disposal of cases, for which the Centre will pool in 90 per cent and the state government 10 per cent.

Lack of unanimity
However, the government’s plan to set up an all-India judicial services to recruit judges for higher judiciary may not take off soon due to lack of consensus among various states and high courts on the issue.

“The issue of an all-India judicial service came up for discussions. But there was no unanimity, as the various states and their high courts have their own views...the debate will continue. We do not wish to impose ourselves,” he said.

The creation of the national-level judicial service, on the lines of the All-India Civil Services, is based on the recommendation of the ministry-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.

Moily said 275 more judges are required in the courts and the Law ministry will take action on the recommendations from Supreme Court and high courts.

The Law Ministry had also launched a programme for releasing two lakh undertrial prisoners on January 26, this year, to help those who cannot pay for their bails. Under this, so far, 1,61,000 undertrials have been released. The rest of the target, which comes to around two-thirds of the undertrials, will be achieved by the
year-end.
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