Supreme Court Directs Delhi Government to Fast-track Judicial Infrastructure Development

The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud along with Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, issued directives to the Delhi Government for expediting the construction of judicial infrastructure in Delhi. The bench instructed the Chief Secretary of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to outline measures taken for judicial officers’ residential accommodation, recruitment procedures at the district level, and the provision of temporary additional courtrooms.

The recent directives stemmed from prior orders by the Apex Court that prompted a meeting chaired by the Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. This crucial meeting aimed to address urgent infrastructural needs faced by the Delhi High Court. It involved key government officials, including the Chief Secretary of GNCTD, Principal Secretary (Law), Principal Secretary (PWD), Secretary (Finance), and representatives from L&DO (Land and Development Office).

The meeting revealed that a residential project for 70 judicial officers commenced in Dwarka in October 2014 but was halted due to structural defects jeopardizing construction safety. Consequently, the project remained suspended, leaving a gap in ongoing residential construction for judicial officers in Delhi. The Court directed a follow-up meeting to decide the future course of action for this stalled project.

Additionally, the Land and Development Office (L&DO) of the Union government received directives to promptly transfer possession of vacant areas earmarked for the Rouse Avenue Project to the Delhi High Court by 31 December 2023.

In furtherance of these developments, the Supreme Court issued specific orders:

1. Tender Process and Review Meeting:
– The GNCTD was directed to submit an affidavit by 31 January 2024, confirming the floating of tenders for judicial infrastructure construction within the specified timelines outlined in the 12 December 2023 meeting.
– A review meeting, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on 12 January 2024, was mandated. The Chief Secretary of GNCTD was to report on progress concerning residential accommodations for judicial officers, district-level staff recruitment procedures, and the provision of temporary additional courtrooms.

The proceedings related to this matter are scheduled for 5 February 2024.

The case, titled “Malik Mazhar Sultan v UP Public Services Commission | Civil Appeal No(s).1867/2006,” documented in 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 1068, highlighted the judiciary’s proactive stance in streamlining infrastructure development for the judiciary in Delhi.

This proactive approach by the Supreme Court underscores the significance of expeditiously resolving infrastructural deficiencies in the judiciary, emphasizing the importance of proper judicial infrastructure to facilitate efficient and effective judicial processes. The directives issued by the apex court aim to ensure timely completion of projects and the provision of necessary amenities for judicial officers, ultimately enhancing the delivery of justice in the national capital. The proactive measures undertaken by the court are poised to significantly impact the pace and quality of judicial services in Delhi, fostering an environment conducive to expedient, fair, and efficient legal proceedings.

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