Chief Justices’ conference to focus on judicial infrastructure

AFTER a hiatus of six years, the Chief Justices’ conference under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of India [CJI] N.V. Ramana will take place tomorrow. The last such conference was held in 2016.

The 39th conference aims at addressing and resolving issues concerning the judiciary. A Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan will follow it on April 30, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Justices U.U. Lalit and A.M. Khanwilkar, the two senior-most puisne judges of the Supreme Court, will also attend the conference scheduled tomorrow. The first such conference was held in November 1953.

The progress made on the resolutions passed in the previous conference held in 2016 will be reviewed, besides discussing the following issues:

  • Strengthening the network and connectivity at all court complexes pan India on a priority basis;
  • Human Resources/personnel/policy needs of district courts;
  • Infrastructure and capacity of buildings;
  • Institutional and legal reforms; and
  • Appointment of high court judges.

The conference will also delve into issues governing the development of IT infrastructure for district courts, the potential creation of a permanent cadre of computer officials for the IT needs of district courts, the transmission of orders and judgments through e-mail to all stakeholders, and the use of artificial intelligence technology in judicial matters for quick disposal.

The issue of the establishment of the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority [NJIA] and State Judicial Infrastructure Authorities will also be discussed in the scheduled conference. CJI Ramana has been pushing for the establishment of NJIA for the arrangement of adequate infrastructure for courts, as per which there will be a Governing Body with the CJI as Patron-in-Chief.

The other salient features of the proposal are that the NJIA will act as a central body in laying down the road map for planning, creation, development, maintenance and management of functional infrastructure for the Indian Court System, besides identical structures under all the High Courts. The proposal was sent to the governments of all states and union territories for their views on the contours of the proposal, to enable taking a considered view on the matter.

Pertinently, the conference will also be discussing the process to expedite the recommendations for the appointment of judges to high courts.