Effort To Strengthen Judicial Facilities

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New Delhi, Aug 5 (UNI) With nearly 30 million cases pending, facilities for judiciary are being strengthened with new court buildings, homes, laptops and internet links.

More than 12,000 judges have been given laptops and laser printers and broadband connectivity installed at the homes of more than 9,000 of them, Law and Justice Ministry reported today.

As many as 11,005 judicial officers and 44,020 court staff have been trained in information and communication technology tools, a Ministry statement said.

The steps are a part of a Central government scheme-- Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary-- underway since 1993-94.

The statement said the Centre has already given States and Union Territories Rs 794.44 crore to augment their resources to build courts and residential accommodation for judiciary.

The XI Plan outlay is Rs 701.08 crore, of which States have been provided Rs 103.08 crore in 2007-08 and Rs 133 crore for 2008-09.

Under the scheme, States are expected to put up a like amount, if not more.

It said State governments have completed 1,037 court buildings and are constructing 986 more. Also completed have been 2,061 residential units, with 1,410 under costruction.

Another 300 residences of High Courts Judges have also been taken up, 125 of which have been completed, and 175 are in the works.

It said the Central government has already computerised city courts in metropolitan cities and State capitals or cities where the principal seat of the High Court is located.

The Centre spent Rs 42 crore between 2000-01 to 2003-04 to computerise 1,600 such courts.

Since February 2007, authorities have been engaged in computerising India's district and subordinate courts and linking them electronically with High Courts and the Supreme Court.

The scheme known as 'E-courts' is being implemented in phases, the first of which will cost Rs 442 crore and be completed by February 2009, the statement said, adding that National Informatics Centre has been provided Rs 187.05 crore for the project.

Steps already taken: -- Nearly 13,365 Judges have been provided with laptops; -- As many as 12,074 laser printers have been provided; -- Broadband connectivity provided at the residences of 9,524 Judges, 478 District Court complexes and 1,203 Subordinate Court complexes; and -- Software application is being developed.

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