The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Chief Secretary to create a “suitable mechanism” in consultation with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the L&DO to acquire and develop land for more courts in Delhi.
The court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat, who is also a member of the High Court building maintenance committee, and Justice Vipin Sanghi pulled up the government during a hearing on a PIL, seeking appointment of more judges to the Delhi judiciary to take up pending cases.
The PIL filed by advocate R K Kapoor alleged that a large number of sanctioned posts of judges were not filled and that there was a need to create more sanctioned judicial posts in Delhi due to the huge pendency of cases.
“How can we fill the posts if there are no courtrooms? The plea, as of now, will take 10 years. What land is available? Where are the courts?” the court said.
During the hearing, the bench observed that the court officers had been forced to look into the issue of acquisition of land to construct courtrooms.
“There are 5-6 proposals and it is a huge amount of work for the judges. This is not our job, this is a job of the land owning agencies,” the court said.
The bench also observed that apart from identifying suitable land, the work also included various clearances, funding etc.
“It is necessary that a coordinated approach be taken to consider the proposals and suggest a suitable mechanism which will monitor progress of various stages and sanctions such as clearances for the new buildings,” the court said.
The court has now directed the government to “ensure the speedy and timely construction of additional court buildings”.
The court has also directed the government to identify whether there are any suitable vacant government-owned buildings near the existing court complexes which can be converted for the use as courts.
“The various authorities have to coordinate” the court said, after hearing arguments from advocate Rajshekhar Rao, representing the High Court, and Rajiv Bansal, the counsel for the DDA.