New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by the prime minister Narendra Modi has approved continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary for further five years from 01.04.2021 to 31.03.2026 at a total cost of Rs.9000 crore, out of which Central share will be Rs.5357 crore including Rs.50 crore for the Gram Nyayalayas Scheme and their implementationin a Mission Mode through National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms.
Several courts are still functioning in rented premises with insufficient space and some in a dilapidated condition without basic amenities. Lack of residential accommodation to all the judicial officers also adversely affects their working and performance. 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.
This proposal will help in construction of 3800 court halls and 4000 residential units(both new and ongoing projects) for judicial officers of District and Subordinate Courts, 1450 lawyer halls, 1450 toilets complexes and 3800 digital computer rooms. This will help in improving the functioning and performance of the Judiciary in the country and will be a new step towards building better courts for a new India.
The Cabinet also approved the decision to support the Gram Nyayalayas by proving recurringand non-recurring grants for a period of 5 years with a total outlay of Rs 50 crores. However, funds will be released to the states only after the notified Gram Nyayalayas are operationalised and Nyayadhikaris have been appointed and reported on the Gram Nyayalaya portal of Department of Justice. 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 marginalized.
The major activities of the Scheme:
ACentrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary has been in operation since 1993-94. Adequacy of judicial infrastructure is critical for reduction of pendency and backlog of cases in Courts. Though the primary responsibility of infrastructure development for the subordinate judiciary rests with the State Governments, the Central Government through this CSS augments the resources of the State Governments for construction of court buildings and residential quarters for Judicial Officers (JO) in all the States / UTs. The present proposal provides for additional activities like construction of lawyer halls, toilets complexes and digital computer rooms. This will add to the convenience of lawyers and litigants besides reducing digital divide.
Since the inception of the scheme till 2014, the Central Governmentover 20 years provided only Rs. 3444 croreto the State Governments/Union Territories. In sharp contrast, the present Government during last seven years has sanctioned Rs 5200 croretill date accounting for nearly 60% of the sanction made so far.
The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 that came into force from 2 October 2009was enacted for establishment of Gram Nyayalayas for speedy and easy access to justice system in the rural areas of India. A scheme of central assistance was formulated simultaneously to fund the initial cost in terms of non-recurring expenses for setting up of these courts with the assistance limited to Rs. 18.00 lakhs per Gram Nyayalaya as a one-time measure. Central Government also decided to bear 50% of the recurring expenses of these courts subject to a ceiling of Rs. 3.2 lakhs per court per annum during the first three (3) years of their operations. 13 states have implemented this scheme by notifying 455Gram Nyayalayas out of which 226 are functional. A sum of Rs. 81.53 crore has been sanctioned since the inception of the CSS Scheme.
Implementation of the Scheme from 2021 to 2026
Implementation of the following activities for five years from 01.04.2021 to 31.03.2026 at a total cost of Rs.9000 crore, out of which Central share with an approved outlay of Rs.5357 crore including Rs.50 crore allocated for the Gram Nyayalayas Scheme.
- Construction of 3800 court halls and 4000 residential units for Judicial Officers (JO) in all the District and Subordinate Courtsin all the District and Subordinate Courts with an expenditure of Rs.4500 crores.
- Construction of 1450 Lawyers’ Halls in all the District and Subordinate Courts with an expenditure of Rs.700 crore.
- Construction of 1450 toilet complex in all the District and Subordinate Courts with an expenditure of Rs.47 crore.
- Construction of 3800 Digital Computer Rooms in the District and Subordinate Courts with an expenditure of Rs.60 crore.
- Operationalisation of Gram Nyayalayas in implementing states with an expenditure of Rs.50 crore.
Monitoring of the Scheme
- An on-line monitoring system has been set up by the Department of Justice enabling data collection on progress, completion of court halls and residential units under construction as well as better asset management.
- Department of Justice has developed an online monitoring system with technical assistance from ISRO. The upgraded “Nyaya Vikas-2.0” web portal and mobile application is used for monitoring physical and financial progress of CSS judicial infrastructure projects by geo-tagging completed and ongoing projects. Quarterly review meetings are held with the representatives of all States/UTs and High Courts to review the status of implementation of projects.
- Regular State level meetings of the Monitoring Committee are held by various High Courts, States with State Chief Secretaries and PWD officials to enable speedy and good construction.
- The Gram Nyayalaya Portal helps online monitoring of working of the Gram Nyayalayas by the implementing states.
Benefits from the Scheme
The CSS Scheme will increase the availability of well-equipped Court Halls and Residential Accommodations for Judges / Judicial Officers of District and Subordinate Courts all over the country. The courts are also being provided with better amenities enabling win-win situation for both the judiciary and the lawyers and also to ease of living of common man. Setting up of digital computer rooms will also improve digital capabilities and give impetus to the digitization initiation being pursued as a part of India’s Digital India vision. This will help in improving the overall functioning and performance of the Judiciary. Continued assistance to the Gram Nyayalayas will also give impetus to providing speedy, substantial and affordable justice to the common man at his door step.