Where do judges stay? 'Shocked' SC asks WB govt

Three-judge bench 'shocked and surprised' over WB govt's on inability to provide infrastructure for district courts.

"Where do our judges would stay? What is the budgetary allocation for judiciary in the state," a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked West Bengal get counsel. PTI File Photo 

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it was "shocked and surprised" over the inability of the West Bengal government to tell the precise time for making available requisite court halls and residential units for judges at district courts.

"Where do our judges stay? What is the budgetary allocation for the judiciary in the state," a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked West Bengal's counsel.

Amicus curiae senior advocate Shyam Divan informed the court as per the Chief Secretary's affidavit, 75 court halls and 39 residential units are under construction, while there was a requirement for 422 courtrooms and 630 residences for judges in trial court.

"Don't you see the lethargy and unwillingness," the bench told Divan.

The court was examining a batch of matters including a suo motu one, on vacancies of judges and availability of infrastructure for district courts across the country.

As the state counsel contended that there was no shortage of funds, the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph asked him as well as the Registrar General of Calcutta High Court, also present, to provide the exact dates for completion of those projects.

"The Chief Secretary is putting the cart before the horse. If you don't know the date, how would you make a budgetary allocation," the bench said, adding nobody seems to know anything.

The top court gave the West Bengal government time till December 4 to give details on the precise date for the completion of the projects and put the matter for consideration on December 5.

The court also asked the Delhi government to inform about the availability of funds for 167 new court halls, required for additional civil judges, expected to start working from 2020 after completing their training.

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Where do judges stay? 'Shocked' SC asks WB govt

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