The COVID-19 pandemic made courts improve judicial infrastructure go online since they had no other option.
It took 10 years for the High Court building in Aurangabad to be built. The CJI after inaugurating the building lamented about the dismal state of Judicial Infrastructure and said that the common man has built an image that courts are always run in crumbling buildings. To a large extent, the image is not wrong. 26% of Court premises lack toilets for women, 46% of Courts do not have clean drinking water, 50% of courts do not have a library and 95% of court premises do not have medical facilities.
Just like the right of the people to watch the proceedings of the Parliament, the Supreme Court after a lot of petitions finally agreed to let the live telecast of the proceedings in the court, three years ago. The Supreme Court argued that setting up the judicial infrastructure is a herculean task and would also require a change in the rules of the Supreme Court.
Online Hearing – A Result Of The Pandemic
However, after the COVID-19 pandemic, online hearings started in the shortest time possible. Hence instead of beating around the bush and claiming that protocols and rules will have to be changed, it is better to work according to the situation.
It is indeed ironic that daily PIL about roads, toilets, drinking water and such issues are looked into by the courts. However, these basic amenities are lacking in most courts. The main reason is that only 0.1% of the GDP is spent on Courts and other judicial infrastructures. The number of judges per 1000 people is one of the lowest in the world.
However, increasing the number of judges and courts does not guarantee a quicker dispensation of justice. To achieve this changes has to be made in how justice is dispensed using the latest technology. A revamp of archaic IPC laws is urgently needed. There is an urgent need to find solutions taking into account the constitutional as well as the practical aspects. The State, as well as the Central Government, should take joint responsibility in affecting the changes.
Feature Image: By Subhashish Panigrahi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=84854220