Persuade state govts to increase judiciary funds: CJI to HCs



New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir has written to all chief justices of high courts urging them to persuade their respective state governments to double the number of subordinate courts and to increase the funds provided to the judiciary by the states.

He said while the Centre has been providing funds for the infrastructure and computerization of the subordinate judiciary, the state governments cannot avoid responsibility when the lower courts are their responsibility.

"The central government has been forthcoming by providing funds for infrastructure and computerization for subordinate judiciary. However, the state governments cannot avoid responsibility when primarily subordinate judiciary is the responsibility of the state governments.

"I, thus, urge you to strongly take up the matter with the state government so that the annual outlay by the state government for judiciary is increased. It is emphasised that the state government must be persuaded to agree to double the existing number of courts in subordinate judiciary, along with the necessary furnished infrastructure and ministerial staff, at the earliest," the CJI said in his letter to the CJs.

He also asked the high courts to take urgent steps to ensure that existing vacancies are filled up. Kabir said he has already written to the Prime Minister on February 21, on the issue.

He informed that he has accepted the recommendations of an advisory committee, headed by Justice P Sathasivam, which is overseeing the National Court Management Systems panel and had recommended doubling of the existing number of courts.

"I have accepted the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, which has been made in terms of the observations of the Supreme Court in the case of All India Judges' Association that existing number of courts in subordinate judiciary needs to be doubled with requisite infrastructure," Kabir said.

He also said that while the judiciary "in the wake of certain recent unfortunate incidents" has carved out special courts from existing strength of district judges so that offences relating to women are fast-tracked, that in itself "may not suffice".

"The judiciary has responded in the wake of certain recent unfortunate incidents by carving out special courts from the existing strength of judges in subordinate judiciary so that offences relating to women are fast-tracked.

"This, by itself may not suffice, as more than three crore cases are pending in courts with only about 18,871 sanctioned strength of judges in the country. Out of this, in subordinate judiciary, there are just 17945 sanctioned posts," he has said in his letter.

PTI