The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that when the government is focusing on ease of doing business, settling disputes through arbitration, and the like, then it cannot leave high courts at the mercy of state governments for funding judicial infrastructure, and suggested that it contemplate creating an umbrella body for this purpose.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath also recommended creation of specific cadre for tribunals and also suggested that the Centre can contemplate creating an All India Tribunal Service for effective administration of tribunals.
It also urged the government for a rethink in terms of infrastructural requirements of the judiciary.
The top court cited that the government is talking about ease of doing business, inviting foreign investment, speedy disposal of corporate cases, and also settlement of disputes through arbitration. It added therefore it is essential for the government to have a centralised mechanism for development of the infrastructure and allocation of funds. It said a mechanism is required for monitoring allocation of funds by the Centre and states, and the disbursal of funds and their utilisation.
The bench said: “We have found that infrastructure work gets completed fast when funds are allocated by the Centre.” It also appreciated the Centre’s efforts for speedy allocation of funds for creation of court infrastructure.
Citing a meeting held with various high court chief justices, the bench said they don’t know when the state governments will allocate funds. “So, don’t leave the High Courts at the mercy of state governments for funds. You must create a centralised mechanism for development of judicial infrastructure,” it added.
The bench asked Centre’s counsel to seek instruction on creation of a body like the National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation, and a sub-committee at the national and state levels. It further added that there should be a central mechanism for allocation of funds for creation of infrastructure. The top court was examining the recommendation of retired Justice A.K. Sikri on the national court management system.
The bench also pointed out that problem is also at the end of the judiciary, after allocation of funds — they remain unutilised.