30 Jun 2021 7:25 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) recently 'reminded' the State of its constitutional duty towards providing of workable and effective infrastructure and adequate funds to the third pillar of our democracy which is judiciary. The Bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice Anil S. Kilor was hearing public interest litigation regarding the 'situation of emergency arose in the...
The Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) recently 'reminded' the State of its constitutional duty towards providing of workable and effective infrastructure and adequate funds to the third pillar of our democracy which is judiciary.
The Bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice Anil S. Kilor was hearing public interest litigation regarding the 'situation of emergency arose in the precincts of this very Court' wherein there was 'heavy leakage' from the Court ceiling of the Courtroom.
The Court was concerned with an incident wherein due to heavy rainfall outside, the Courtroom started leaking and the same was also seen inside the Courtroom CC and the video recording of such inside rainfall was also made.
Taking into account the video, the Court observed:
"If the Courtrooms are leaking in this fashion, we ask a question to ourselves - Would it be possible for the High Court to dispense justice in performance of its sovereign function? The question does not beg any answer and the answer is too manifest to be expressly stated here."
It was submitted before the Court that the incident occurred because of the civil work which was going and was stopped by the contractor because of not making available to him any funds in spite of administrative approval for the work.
The Court also apprised of the complaints that several works going on in the Nagpur Bench were not being given their due importance by the State authorities.
It was also submitted that when it comes to releasing of the funds for execution of these works, the State authorities hold back their hands while preferring other institutions.
Important, the Court also remarked:
"…a porous roof of Court Hall letting in rainwater, not in drops or trickles, but heavy showers is much more than a disability, it is an obstruction, for a justice-seeker and justice-dispenser"
The Court stressed the need for the authorities to pay their urgent attention to the infrastructural and financial requirements of this Bench of the High Court.
Noting that State will have to be given some time to make its appropriate response to the various issues raised, the Court said:
"We would like to remind the State of its constitutional duty towards providing of workable and effective infrastructure and adequate funds to the third pillar of our democracy which is judiciary so that judiciary is able to perform its sovereign function and discharge its constitutional duty in an effective manner."
Therefore, the Court requested the State authorities to consider urgent infrastructural and financial needs of this Court and make adequate provisions and also release the funds immediately so that the opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any litigant.
Significantly, the Court observed:
"After all, a leaking Court hall, rather water pouring Court hall, lack of adequate space in Courts, absence of Court buildings etc. are some of the physical obstacles in dispensing as well as securing justice, and it is the constitutional duty of the State to remove them without any delay."
Further, the Court referred to its earlier decisions in which directions were issued to the State of Maharashtra to endeavor to make payment to the contractors who had carried out the civil work entirely or who were carrying out the civil works after securing due administrative approval from the competent authorities immediately and in any case within four months from the date of submission of their financial bills.
Registry of the Court placed before it, a chart containing pendency of demand of funds in the current financial year 2021 – 2022 and it contained works which have been completed or which are being carried out, the estimated cost of each of the works, the status regarding administrative approval, the position of the demand of funds and grants released and also status of the works.
The Court directed that the copy of the chart be provided to the Government Pleader to enable her to seek appropriate instructions and placing the same before this Court.
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