New Delhi: Non-availability of funds under Centrally-sponsored schemes has delayed construction of courtrooms in the state and only 31 courtrooms could be completed in last 10 months, almost half of the target set by the state in the beginning of 2019.
In a report submitted by amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria in the Supreme Court, it has been stated that the apex court noted in its January 17 order that 211 courtrooms are under construction and 94 of those would be completed within six months and 82 within a year. However, the Orissa High Court stated that only 31 court halls have been completed by October 31 and the remaining could not be completed due to non-availability of fund under Centrally-sponsored scheme.
The amicus submitted in his report, based on the data furnished by the High Court, that there is a shortage of 264 courtrooms in the state vis-à-vis sanctioned strength. Similarly, there is shortage of 418 residential units vis-à-vis sanctioned strength.
The amicus further informed the court through his report that in respect to requirement of 272 additional courtrooms, the state government has said that 23 courtrooms will be completed within a year and for the rest, the process of land acquisition is underway. It also stated that in some cases the land has been acquired but construction work has not begun due to non-availability of funds from the Centre.
Significantly, the amicus’ report stated that delay in construction of courtrooms and residential units occurred due to non-receipt of funds under Centrally-sponsored schemes in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
“In respect of private accommodation to judicial officers, the state government has issued a resolution mentioning that full reimbursement of rent to the officers shall be made on the basis of fair rent certificate issued by the executive engineer as per entitlement category of the quarters,” the report states.
The amicus also said in the report that 23 district judge posts, 45 civil judge posts and 61 junior judiciary posts are lying vacant. It stated that 45 vacancies of civil judge (senior) positions include 38 against new courts which are yet to be made operational. Similarly, 61 vacancies of Civil Judge (junior) positions include 45 against new courts which are not yet functional. The state government has issued appointment orders for 41 candidates.