To shore up the justice delivery system, groaning under the burden of over three crore pending cases, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana has unveiled an ambitious plan to set up a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation to build modern and self-sufficient judicial infrastructure across India.
In the two-day-long deliberations with high court chief justices in four sessions on June 1 and 2, the CJI said poor infrastructure was proving to be a major stumbling block in delivery of justice and shared his vision for creation of NJIC, which according to him would be tasked to build “comprehensive, self-contained, all-inclusive and modern court complexes across the country to augment judicial infrastructure”.
Though most CJIs in the past two decades have highlighted the deficient infrastructure, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, as a major stumbling block for speedy delivery of justice, the judiciary had always remained dependent on the mercy of state and central governments for grants to augment its infrastructure, including the use of information technology.
The proposal for creation of NJIC appears timely. However, much will depend on what characteristics it would have in its final shape and the command under which it would build modern court complexes.
Justice Ramana’s plan envisages that the NJIC will be managed by a CJI-led committee comprising SC judges who would become CJIs in future. The NJIC managing committee will also include finance secretaries to the Union/state governments and HC CJs having long tenures.
Justice Ramana said, “I am of the firm belief that unless infrastructure is strengthened, it is unfair to expect courts, particularly lower courts, to do miracles and increase the pace of justice delivery. Both quality and quantity of justice delivery can be improved only when support systems are strong.”