Sunday, August 29, 2010

Room for justice: Saket Court opens

Sake Court Complex

Sake Court Complex. (Photos: Anindya Chattopadhyay)

NEW DELHI: From judges holding courts in the "space under the staircase'' to "centrally airconditioned'' courtrooms, the new swanky court complex at Saket is now a model court complex for other states. Sharing his experience of seeing judges working in "pathetic conditions'' for the last 20 years, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia on Saturday said that after opening of Saket court complex, which has the best infrastructural facilities, the subordinate courts will work with "dignity''.

"Can you have a judicial delivery system or justice delivery mechanism without proper infrastructure? The answer is no,'' CJI Kapadia said at the inauguration of the sixth district court complex in the capital. CJI Kapadia said he had gone through the statistical data of the last 10 years regarding budget allocation for the judiciary and while other states had below 1% of their GDP being allocated to the judiciary, Delhi topped the chart with 1.6%. CJI Kapadia's remarks were seconded by Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit also present at the inauguration who hinted that Saket was not going to be the the last of the many district courts in the capital."We are opening the sixth district court complex. Two more will come as and when the need arises. We can give whatever is required for the judicial system,'' she said.

While the new swanky court complex won accolades from the judiciary and legal fraternity for having the best infrastructure in the country, opening of saket court complex will also significantly reduce the workload of Patiala house court complex. Built using a budget of Rs 313 crore, Saket court complex will have two major districts south and southeast under its jurisdiction. With this, Patiala house, which used to handle 2 lakh people every day, will now be left with New Delhi district and will have less workload. Making Saket court complex operational is also going to ease the backlog of more than 12 lakh pending cases in the district courts as posting of the new batch of 80 judges, who were recruited last year as judicial officers in a bid to fill up the vacancies and deal with the mounting backlog, will also come into effect. As many as 2,500 lawyers will move their base from Patiala house to Saket court complex and extra facilities would be provided to them for smooth functioning of the court hearings.

A special bus service is also in the offing and it will start from Patiala house to Saket court complex so that lawyers and litigants have no trouble in commuting.

Apart from having the best infrastructure in place, Saket court complex has also focused on security arrangements. Around 50 CCTV cameras have been placed in and out of the complex with a recording capacity of three days. The daily recordings will be monitored by the staff and all the entrances will be strictly monitored.

Saket court complex, that has been constructed by Ahluwalia Contracts, consists of a seven-storey centrally airconditioned building with 80 court rooms, 92 chambers for the judges. Moreover, separate towers with 666 lawyers chambers and 128 residential houses for judges have been made. Two bar rooms and a library for the judges and lawyers have also been provided. A temporary lock-up has been made for the undertrials till a permanent judicial lock-up is constructed.

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