Credit - ANI
New Delhi: Pushing for "complete financial autonomy of the judiciary" through the establishment of a National Judicial Infrastructure Authority (NJIA) of India, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday urged law minister Kiran Rijiju to ensure that the proposal is taken up in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.
Noting that good judicial infrastructure for Courts in India has always been an "afterthought", the CJI said he has sent a proposal for setting up the NJAI to the Ministry of Law and Justice, ANI reported.
"If we want a different outcome from the judicial system, we cannot continue to work in these circumstances. An integral aspect, in this regard, is the financial autonomy of the judiciary. I have, therefore, sent a proposal for the establishment of the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority to the Ministry of Law and Justice, and I am hoping for a positive response soon. I urge the Hon'ble Minister of Law and Justice to expedite the process and ensure that the proposal to create the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India (NJIAI) with statutory backing is taken up in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament," CJI Ramana said.
He added that "Institutionalising the mechanism for augmenting and creating state-of-the-art judicial infrastructure is the best gift that we can think of giving to our people and our country in this 75th year of our Independence."
CJI further said that good judicial infrastructure for Courts in India has always been an "afterthought" and it is because of this mindset that Courts in India still operate from "dilapidated structures" making it difficult to effectively perform their function.
"Judicial infrastructure is important for improving access to justice and to meet the growing demands of a public that is more aware of its rights and is developing economically, socially, and culturally. It is baffling to note that the improvement and maintenance of judicial infrastructure is still being carried out in an ad-hoc and unplanned manner," he further said.
Speaking at the inauguration function of the annexe building of Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court, CJI said the Aurangabad Bench complex provides a good example of the issue he wishes to highlight.
The need for an additional Court complex at the Aurangabad Bench was identified as early as in 2011, at a meeting convened by the then senior-most judge at this Bench, he said, adding that it has taken more than 10 years for this vision to be implemented is "extremely worrisome".
"This is not the fault of any institution or organ of the State but is emblematic of a deeper structural problem that has plagued judicial infrastructure development in our country since independence. Today's success should not, therefore, blind us to the issues that exist," CJI added.
CJI said that it is a common notion that only criminals or victims of crime approach the court. "People take pride in stating that we have never seen a court building in our lifetime. But, it is high time that we make efforts to remove the taboo associated with approaching Courts for the affirmation of their rights," he added.
The common man deals with multiple legal issues during his lifetime, one must never feel hesitant to approach Courts, said CJI Ramana.
"After all, people's faith in the judiciary is the biggest strength of democracy. Courts are extremely essential for any society that is governed by the rule of law. Court buildings are not merely structures made of mortar and bricks. Rather, they actively assure the constitutional guarantee of the Right to Justice. The Courts in India have repeatedly upheld the rights and freedoms of individuals. They stood up whenever the individuals or society are at the receiving end of the executive excesses. It is an assurance that the seeker of justice, howsoever weak, need not worry about the might of the State," CJI said.
The event was also attended by Maharashtra's Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Supreme Court Judges -- Justice UU Lalit, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice BR Gavai, Justice Abhay Oka, Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Dipankar Datta, Senior most judge at Aurangabad Bench Justice SV Gangapurwala and Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni.