NEW DELHI: With several courts still functioning on rented premises, the Union Cabinet Wednesday approved a five-year extension for a centrally sponsored scheme for developing infrastructure for the judiciary, a statement said.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary has been in operation since 1993-94.
An official statement said that in the extended term, it would continue from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026 during which Rs 9,000 crore would be spent with the Central share of Rs 5,357 crore, including Rs 50 crore for the Gram Nyayalaya Scheme.
Several courts are still functioning on rented premises with insufficient space and some in a dilapidated condition without basic amenities, the statement pointed out.
The lack of residential accommodation to all the judicial officers also adversely affects their work and performance, it observed.
"The present government has remained sensitive to the needs of providing well-equipped judicial infrastructure to subordinate judiciary to facilitate administration of justice in a manner that allows easy access and timely delivery of justice to all.
"Adequacy of judicial infrastructure is critical for reduction of pendency and backlog of cases in courts," it said.
The decision will help in the construction of 3,800 court halls and 4,000 residential units (both new and ongoing projects) for judicial officers of district and subordinate courts, 1,450 lawyer halls, 1,450 toilets complexes and 3,800 digital computer rooms, it said.
The Cabinet also approved a proposal to support Gram Nyayalayas by providing recurring and non-recurring grants for a period of 5 years with a total outlay of Rs 50 crore.
However, funds will be released to states only after the notified Gram Nyayalayas are operationalised and Nyayadhikaris appointed and reported on the Gram Nyayalaya portal of Department of Justice, it said.
A review will be undertaken after one year to assess whether Gram Nyayalaya Scheme has successfully achieved its objective of providing speedy and affordable justice to the rural and marginalised populace, it said.
Though the primary responsibility of infrastructure development for the subordinate judiciary rests with the state governments, the Central government through the scheme augments the resources of states for the construction of court buildings and residential quarters for judicial officers in all the states and UTs, the statement said.
The present proposal allows additional activities like the construction of lawyer halls, toilets complexes and digital computer rooms.
This will add to the convenience of lawyers and litigants, besides reducing digital divide, the statement said.