The issue of easy access to the justice should be one of the main considerations for establishing new Courts, said the Bench.
Bombay High Court recently observed that it is difficult to get funds from the Government even for basic needs of the Court. In Partur Advocate Bar Association vs State of Mahrashtra, the High Court expressed its dissatisfaction over the Government’s attitude towards Judiciary in the following words
“The Judiciary has no financial independence in the sense that for carrying out even a small work of repairs or for buying furniture, the Courts have to seek sanction of the State Government for release of funds. The orders passed by this Court shows that it is difficult to get funds from the Government even for basic needs of the Court. Various orders passed by this Court in PILs show that from time to time, this Court was required to issue directions to the State Government for providing elementary facilities to the litigants such as availability of washrooms, water purifiers, water filters, etc. Many buildings of the Courts are being constructed only after a writ of mandamus is issued by this Court for the release of funds. For establishment of new Courts, land and buildings are required for the Courts and judicial quarters. Additional Judges are required and additional posts of staff are required to be created by the State Government. Additional furniture, computers, printers etc are required.”
The Division Bench of Justices A.S.Oka and C.V.Bhadang was considering a writ petition for the establishment of the Courts of the District and Additional Sessions Judge as well as the Civil Judge, Senior Division at Partur, Taluka Partur, District Jalna. The Bench narrated the true state of affairs in the State as follows;
“There are large number of Courts in the State which are housed in privately owned rented properties. At many stations, there are no judicial quarters available and wherever they are available, the same are not adequate in number. In a city like Mumbai, the judicial officers do not get quarters immediately after they are posted and, therefore, they are required to stay in a make-shift hostel facility at Small Causes Court at Mumbai. In other bigger Cities in the State , even such transit facility is not available. Most of the Taluka and District Courts lack elementary infrastructure. In fact, in large number of PILs pending in the Court wherein the issues of lack of infrastructure has been raised, this Court has issued directions from time to time to the State Government to provide funds and or infrastructure. In many cases, this Court was required to issue writs directing release of funds for construction of Court buildings. In many cases, the Court premises which are situated in rented properties require repairs but the landlords 12 of 25 13 wp-5098.12 are refusing to co-operate and permit repairs.”
In the Case, the Court has considered the following Questions
(I) What should be the consideration for establishing new Courts of ADJ and CJSD at Taluka places within existing judicial District?
(II) Whether in the matter of deciding the issue of establishment of aforesaid Courts, the State Government has a primacy or the High Court Administration has the primacy?
The Court held that the power of establishing Courts, wherever conferred on the State Government, both under the Civil Courts Act and the CrPC will have to be exercised by the State Government after consultation with the High Court. In view of the provisions of Article 235, the views of the High Court will have the primacy. This can be the only harmonious interpretation put to the relevant provisions of the Civil Courts Act and CrPC to make it consistent with the provisions of the Constitution.
The Court has summarized its views as follows;