Why be­ing a lit­i­gant in city courts is eas­ier than in other parts of coun­try

Study Finds Delhi To Be The Only State To Have Court Com­plexes Meet­ing SC Stan­dards

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK 0% [email protected] times­group.com

New Delhi: Lit­i­ga­tion is an oner­ous pur­suit, not only for the length it takes to con­clude cases, but also be­cause the time spent at the courts can be try­ing for peo­ple. The dis­tricts courts in Delhi, in this re­spect, of­fer a pleas­ant dif­fer­ence. A study con­ducted by non-profit Vidhi Cen­tre for Le­gal Pol­icy said the city courts are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, of­fer a wait­ing area for the pub­lic and are well-equipped to han­dle wheel­chair-bound peo­ple.

In its na­tional re­port pub­lished in Au­gust, Vidhi Cen­tre de­clared Delhi the only state to have court com­plexes meet­ing the stan­dards of the Na­tional Court Man­age­ment Sys­tems (NCMS). In 2012, the Supreme Court had ac­cepted the NCMS com­mit­tee’s in­di­ca­tors for rat­ing the per­for­mance of In­dian courts.

Alarge part of the im­prove­ment in court in­fra­struc­ture was spurred by chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal prioritisi­ng the ex­pan­sion of the ju­di­cial ameni­ties to en­sure speedy jus­tice for Delhi res­i­dents. The CM in­structed the law de­part­ment in the first year of the gov­ern­ment it­self that avail­abil­ity of fund­ing should never come in the way of build­ing court in­fra­struc­ture.

A visit to the newly con­structed Rouse Av­enue court com­plex in Cen­tral dis­trict un­der­scores the hi-tech as­pect of the in­fra­struc­ture with its Braille sig­nage out­side court­rooms and tac­tile paths on ev­ery floor.

Vidhi Cen­tre’s Au­gust re­port said, “The sur­vey shows that only one state (Delhi) and one Union ter­ri­tory (Chandigarh) have court com­plexes that meet NCMS stan­dards. Over­all, Delhi (90%), Ker­ala (84%), Meg

Score ha­laya (75%), Hi­machal Pradesh (70%) and Haryana (70%) are the best per­form­ing states across all pa­ram­e­ters.”

The sur­vey of 110 lit­i­gants con­ducted by the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­tween May and Au­gust last year showed that most court com­plexes in Delhi were eas­ily nav­i­ga­ble and demon­strated well-equipped se­cu­rity and other ameni­ties. The study also high­lighted the con­ve­nience of a bank branch at all the courts.

The re­port, how­ever, pointed out the need for proper seat­ing and clean­li­ness at courts and said “56% of the lit­i­gants felt the wait­ing ar­eas needed to im­prove ac­cess for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties”. Toi­lets too were a con­cern mostly be­cause of the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing them daily. Though the wash­rooms were found func­tional, the re­spon­dents noted lack of liq­uid soap, tis­sue pa­per and work­ing flushes.

Sig­nage helped them in the com­plexes, but the re­spon­dents ad­mit­ted that they de­pended on their lawyers for nav­i­ga­tion. But when it came to the ser­vices such as no­taries, can­teens, ATMs and pho­to­copy­ing, 10 of the 11 court com­plexes ticked all the boxes. Only one did not have fire ex­tin­guish­ers, while most had a fully-func­tion­ing bag­gage scan fa­cil­ity.

The sur­vey in­volved nine pa­ram­e­ters, among them ac­ces­si­bil­ity, hy­giene, se­cu­rity and on­line pres­ence, to as­sess the per­for­mance. While Tis Hazari court com­plex in the west fared the worst scor­ing 77%, the south, south­east (Saket), north­east and east (Karkar­dooma) dis­tricts scored a high 96%. New Delhi: The civil de­fence staff who are meant to as­sist dur­ing anti-en­croach­ment and other en­force­ment drives are be­ing utilised as pri­vate staff, driv­ers and body­guards in South Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion.

Miffed at this mis­use, the stand­ing com­mit­tee of the cor­po­ra­tion has asked all of its four ad­min­is­tra­tive zones to sub­mit de­tailed re­ports on the num­ber, post­ings and salaries of all such per­son­nel de­ployed by the civic body.

Stand­ing com­mit­tee chair­per­son Bhu­pen­der Gupta on Satur­day said the four zones each have 20-25 civil de­fence mem­bers. “Since po­lice­men are not al­ways avail­able dur­ing th­ese drives, the civil de­fence staff and Home Guards have been ap­pointed to help. Due to their khaki uni­form, pub­lic main­tains calm and mis­chief is avoided. But we are re­peat­edly ob­serv­ing that they are be­ing used for other pur­poses,” Gupta said.

Since the per­son­nel are be­ing utilised by the cor­po­ra­tion, their salaries too are paid from its cof­fers, an SDMC of­fi­cial said.

Gupta ex­plained that th­ese guards were sought from Delhi gov­ern­ment’s di­rec­torate of Home Guards around three years ago. Con­sid­er­ing they have been em­ployed for 36 months, the of­fi­cial es­ti­mate of salaries paid to them is Rs 4-5 crore, he said.

“At the next stand­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing, the four deputy com­mis­sion­ers should sub­mit in­di­vid­ual re­ports about the to­tal num­ber and use of the civil de­fence staff. We also want the records of the salaries paid so far,” Gupta said.

He ar­gued that if cer­tain of­fi­cers con­sid­ered that they had any se­cu­rity is­sues, they should con­tact Delhi Po­lice for cover. “How can civil de­fence staff be used for se­cu­rity? They should be de­ployed only for the pur­pose for which they have been called,” the chair­per­son said.

The civil de­fence staff come un­der the di­rec­torate of Home Guards and are used for di­verse func­tions. Delhi gov­ern­ment also en­gages them as se­cu­rity mar­shals in DTC buses. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, there are roughly 3,000 mar­shals — com­pris­ing Home Guard per­son­nel, civil de­fence vol­un­teers and ex-ser­vice­men — cur­rently en­gaged with Delhi Trans­port Cor­po­ra­tion for its fleet of 3,781 buses. Th­ese mar­shals are de­ployed in the evening rush hour and late night trips.

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