Shortage of Around 5,000 Courtrooms and 9,000 Residential Units in Districts: Report
Representational Image. (Photo Credits: File)

New Delhi, September 22: The district-level judiciary is facing space crunch as only 17,817 courtrooms are available against a sanctioned strength of 22,750 judges, marking a shortage of around 5,000 courtrooms and 9,000 residential units. According to a Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy report, only 13,790 residential units are available for the district judiciary functionaries. Of the 17,817 court halls, only 15,042 are owned by the judiciary and the rest taken on rent either from the government or the private parties.

The think-tank has undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of the centrally-sponsored scheme for improving the physical infrastructure for judiciary in its report titled, "Budgeting Better for Courts: An Evaluation of the Rs 7,460 crore Released Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Judicial Infrastructure". Supreme Court Asks Delhi Govt to Provide 150 Extra Courtrooms for New Trial Judges by March 2020.

After evaluating implementation of both the schemes, the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy found it lacked transparency and accountability. The centrally-sponsored scheme (CSS) for the judicial infrastructure was launched in 1993.

According to the report, Rs 6,100.24 crore was granted by the Centre to states under the CSS between 1993-94 and 2017-18. While Rs 650 crore was released in 2018-19, Rs 710 crore is expected to be released in 2019-20.

Contrary to the narrative of under-funding of the judicial infrastructure, under the CSS the Centre would have released Rs 7,460.24 crore between 1993 and 2020, mainly for the district judiciary and despite that there is a shortage of 4,933 courtrooms, according to the report. The report also points to poor coordination between state departments and the state judiciary.