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Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has come out with a report highlighting the lapses in judicial infrastructure in district courts across the country.
Titled Building Better Courts: Surveying the Infrastructure of India’s District Courts, the report explores the link between access to justice and judicial infrastructure by assessing 665 district court complexes across India. The survey was supplemented with interviews from litigants to understand the user experience while accessing courts. A total of 6650 litigants were selected for this purpose.
The report notes that the National Court Management System (NCMS) had drawn a link between judicial infrastructure and pendency of cases. To address this, NCMS had laid down key benchmarks and a framework for minimum standards that court complexes must follow to enhance access to justice in terms of infrastructure.
Keeping these benchmarks in mind, Vidhi’s study evaluates the judicial infrastructure in the district courts based on nine parameters. These parameters were identified as: Getting There, Navigation, Waiting Areas, Hygiene, Barrier-Free Access, Case Display, Security, Amenities and Website.
The following are some of the key findings of the report, based on the aforementioned parameters:
The report also makes a number of short-term and long-term suggestions to improve judicial infrastructure in the country. Some of these are:
Union Law Ministry and State Law Departments
The report also contains suggestions to various Union Ministries, civil society organisations, lawyers, and litigants.
As noted in the conclusion,
“More attention also needs to be paid to court infrastructure as an issue affecting judicial performance, and should be treated at par with pendencies and delays, given its direct, tangible impact on access to justice.”
Read the full report here: