SC seeks details from Delhi govt on steps taken to build infrastructure for district judiciary

The Supreme Court directed the Delhi government on Thursday to file an affidavit by January 31 next year, giving details of the steps taken, including the floating of tenders, for the construction of judicial infrastructure in the national capital.

On December 11, the top court slammed the city government over its lackadaisical approach towards providing funds to the Delhi High Court and the district judiciary for infrastructure development.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was informed on Thursday that in pursuance of an earlier order, a meeting was convened by the acting chief justice of the Delhi High Court and several officials, headed by the chief secretary, took part in it to discuss aspects related to a lack of judicial infrastructure.

Noting down the outcome of the deliberations, the bench said an “affidavit shall be filed by the GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) certifying that the tenders floated for the construction of judicial infrastructure to be completed within the timelines decided” at the meeting.

It said a review meeting will be convened on January 12 by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan of the high court, in which the chief secretary shall inform about the steps taken for residential accommodation of judicial officers, recruitment of staff and a provision for temporary courtrooms.

The bench also took note of the shortcomings and use of sub-standard materials in the construction of 70 residential units for judicial officers at Dwarka here and asked the ACJ of the high court to convene a meeting in this regard at the earliest.

The construction of the residential units at Dwarka is stalled presently.

Coming down hard on the Delhi government for not providing funds for judicial infrastructure, the bench, on December 11, said, “What is happening? What is your government doing? You do not want to give any funds to the Delhi High Court? We need an approval by Thursday. It is a model high court and look at the condition. Judges are undergoing training and there are no courtrooms.”

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Senior advocate Shyam Divan had submitted that prosecutors and judges were facing problems due to inadequate facilities in the high court and trial courts.

The top court noted that 813 judicial officers are functioning in Delhi’s district judiciary against the sanctioned strength of 887.

There is a shortage of 118 courtrooms as also residential quarters for judicial officers.

“We find no reason or justification for the lackadaisical approach of the GNCTD in meeting the demands of the Delhi district judiciary. We accordingly direct the chief justice of the Delhi High Court to convene a meeting tomorrow,” the bench had said.

Meanwhile, the bench asked the Bihar government to provide the details of payment of pension and family pension to judges and the family members of deceased judicial officers.

The bench was hearing a plea related to the district judiciary in the country.

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