Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan Saturday emphasised the need to improve the infrastructure of courts and welcomed the 13th Finance Commission’s recommendations to invest Rs.5,000 crore to upgrade the country’s justice delivery system.
“One good thing is that the commission, in a recent proposal, earmarked a planning outlay of Rs.5,000 crore to improve the infrastructure of the judiciary system. I am sure that after three-years time, we would have wonderful results before us,” Balakrishnan said.
“There would be an increased number of courts and improved facilities. Right now facilities for witnesses, litigants and even lawyers in some courts are very poor. Although the situation in Punjab and Haryana courts is fairly good, but still there are states that are operating courts from 150 year old buildings.”
Balakrishnan was speaking after inaugurating the two-day international conference on jurists on judicial reforms, jointly organised by bar council of Punjab and Haryana High Court and International Council of Jurists.
“We are trying our best to improve the judicial system of our country but it will take some time. One of the problem is increasing number of cases and we need more number of judges in our courts,” he said.
“Judges’ strength has certainly improved in all the high courts but still there is a vacancy of 2,000 judges in the 16,000 courts of the country. However, the process of selection of judges is going on but it is a long process as after selection, a judge undergoes training that certainly consumes time,” he added.
Balakrishnan also urged Punjab and Haryana to establish family courts to ease the burden of other courts.
“Although the Family Law Act came into existence in 1985, but still in Punjab and Haryana there are no family courts. We can have these in every district. We have requested the state governments to establish them in the next six months,” he said.
“In Punjab, we have many NRIs and there are many family related disputes so these courts will help immensely in amicably solving these issues. At the same time we need a senior judicial officer to head a family court, because this job requires maturity, innovation and good thinking power,” he added.
Balakrishnan also emphasised the need to have gram nayalayas (village courts).
“We also need gram nayalayas (village courts). If we are able to have 4,000 gram nayalayas in the country then it would be of big help to solve various disputes of rural people,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Balakrishnan inaugurated the two-day 8th All India Meet of State Legal Services Authorities here.