New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said years of apathy by various state governments has resulted in a situation that the subordinate judiciary has to function in a hard-pressed manner with an inadequate number of judges and crumbling infrastructure.
"There have been years of apathy towards the judiciary. Suitable conditions are not provided but it is working," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed.
The apex court, which has been monitoring the steps taken for developing the infrastructure in the subordinate judiciary and filling up the vacancies of judicial officers and supporting staff, on Tuesday examined the progress made by the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura and Uttarakhand.
The remarks relating to the apathy towards judiciary were made while dealing with the steps taken by the Rajasthan government.
"Have you visited the courts? It is unimaginable under what conditions the judicial work is going on," the bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and Sanjiv Khanna, said when advocate Gaurav Agrawal was assisting it as an amicus curiae.
In its order relating to Rajasthan, the bench said that the state of infrastructure as indicated is grossly unsatisfactory.
The bench asked the Rajasthan government to apprise it within three months further progress made on the issue of appointment of judicial officers and development of infrastructure of the courts.
While dealing with the issue of Uttarakhand the bench was surprised that the state government was hesitant in supplying information about the utilisation of funds from the Centre.
The bench asked the deputy chief secretary, who was present in the court, to submit the utilisation certificate of the central funds to the competent authority so that additional central funds required for the purpose could be disposed of.
The apex court took on record the information provided by other states on the issue.
The apex court on its own had taken note of over 5,000 vacancies for judicial officers across the country and had directed all the 24 high courts and 36 states and UTs to apprise it of remedial measures.
It is also monitoring the steps taken for developing the infrastructure in subordinate judiciary.
The top court had appointed senior advocates Shyam Divan, K V Vishwanathan, Vijay Hansaria and lawyer Gaurav Agrawal as amicus curiae and asked them to assist it in dealing with the case.
Divan would deal with the vacancies and the processes needed to fill them up in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and the Northeast states.
While Vishwanathan would assist the top court in dealing with the vacancies in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala, Hansaria would deal with Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Odisha, Patna and Punjab and Haryana.
Agrawal would render assistance to the top court in dealing with the issue of vacancies in states of Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura and Uttarakhand.