- Apprentice Lawyer
- Legal Jobs
The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has published a report on the status of physical infrastructure of the lower judiciary in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). The report focuses on the extent to which litigants have physical access to the lower courts under study.
In preparing the report, the litigant’s perspective was prioritized by asking three questions i.e.
The study has covered twelve court complexes in National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). All six court complexes in the NCT of Delhi were studied. Further, two court complexes each in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh were also studied.
On a general note, the report has found that court complexes can be particularly hard to navigate if a person is physically challenged or illiterate. Essential features meant to enhance the accessibility of courts, such as guide maps, ramps, signage, help desks, etc., were mostly absent in the court complexes studied.
This report also empirically verified the commonly-held notions of urban versus rural infrastructure. It was found that as one moves further away from NCT, the quality of amenities in court complexes deteriorates. Two courts furthest from the NCT did not have features such as ATMs, a bank branch, post office, and in one case, a designated washroom for women.
The table below reveals the prevalence of important utilities across the studied courts. The courts in yellow areas fall in urban areas, whereas the blue fields denote courts in rural areas. Green fields signify that the facility marked is present. Red fields denote that the facility is absent.
With reference to specific courts, key findings of the study include the following.
The report ultimately concludes that there is a chronic lack of infrastructural development in district court complexes. Further, this problem is compounded when one factors in persons with disabilities, persons who are illiterate, women and transgenders.
The court complexes were assessed through in-person visits, using parameters from the Baseline Report on Court Development and Planning System (Infrastructure and Budgeting), brought out by the National Court Management Systems (NCMS) of the Supreme Court.
By adapting NCMS standards, researchers developed a 60-point survey. Tables and illustrations visually depict the observations, and a translation in Hindi has been provided to increase readability.
The full report can be accessed here.
Image Courtesy: Vidhi Centre report.