- What are basic features of Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for development of Infrastructure facilities for judiciary?
The responsibility for the development of infrastructure facilities of the subordinate judiciary rests primarily with the State Government. The Department of Justice has been implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for the Judiciary since the year 1993-94 to augment the resources of the State Governments in this regard. The Scheme aims at improving physical infrastructure requirements of the courts as also the housing needs of Judicial Officers in the country with a view to facilitate better justice delivery. The scheme has been extended from time to time. The Government has extended the above CSS for a period of 5 years i.e. from 2021-22 to 2025-26 with financial outlay of Rs.9000 Cr (including central share of Rs.5307 Cr) and besides construction of court halls and residential units, has also now introduced some new features like provision of Lawyers Halls, toilet complexes and digital computer rooms under the CSS
Since the inception of CSS for Infrastructure Facilities, all along the Central Government contribution has been supplementary in nature with a view to augment whatever resources are allocated by the respective State Governments for this purpose. Hence, the State Governments enjoy the flexibility of determining the extent of fund allocation they would like to make at their own level to meet the needs of developing judicial infrastructure in their respective States. The fund allocation made by the State however does not in any way obligate the Central Government to release matching share. In fact, as per the Scheme, it is the other way round. The State Government is required to release the matching share for the quantum of Central assistance released.
- What is the pattern of assistance under CSS?
Infrastructure Development for the Subordinate Judiciary is a major programme under the National Mission of Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms. Presently, the fund sharing pattern of the Scheme is 90:10 (Centre: State) for the 8 North-Eastern and 3 Himalayan States and 60:40 for remaining States. There is 100% assistance for Union Territories.
- Whether High Court Buildings are covered under CSS presently?
Central Assistance for High Court buildings is not covered under the CSS.
- Whether the grants-in aid/assistance is provided to States/UTs to reimburse the amount already spent by them?
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme is not a reimbursement scheme.
- What are the criteria for the funds released under CSS?
Having regard to budget availability in a year, State/UT wise entitlement is calculated based on the 4 laid down parameters and the States are informed in advance about the tentative allocation to them for the year. Under the Scheme, funds are released to the State Governments/UTs after fulfillment of the following requirements:
a) Implementation of revised PFMS procedure for release of funds for CSS’ by the States/UTs,
b) Submission of utilization of funds (central & State share)
c) Unspent balance with the State should be less than 25% of the funds released (central & State share) in the year. The release proposed would get debited to the extent of unspent balance available with a State/UT.
d) Indication of start date and end date of the project (s) proposed to be taken up by the State/UT.
e) Submission of a certificate that encumbrance free land and other clearances are in place,
f) Uploading and Geo-tagging of the projects on the Nyaya Vikas portal.Indication of state share of funds as per CSS pattern proposed to be allocated for the projects for which central funding is being sought.
- What are the objectives and term of National Mission?
National Mission for justice delivery and Legal Reforms was set up in August, 2011 with the twin objectives of increasing access by reducing delays and arrears in the system and enhancing accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities. The Mission has been pursuing a coordinated approach for phased liquidation of arrears and pendency in judicial administration, which, inter-alia involves better infrastructure for courts including computerization, increase in strength of subordinate judiciary, policy and legislative measures in the areas prone to excessive litigation, re-engineering of courts procedure for quick disposal of cases and emphasis on human resource development. The National Mission has a time frame of five years. The term has recently been extended from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2026.
- What are the Steps taken / being taken on by the Ministry of Law and Justice for timely enforcement of contracts for improving ease of doing business?
a) Commercial Benches have been set up in the High Courts of Delhi and Bombay. Commercial Courts have also been designated in the District Courts under jurisdiction of Delhi High Court.
b) The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Dedicated Commercial Courts has been brought down to Rs 3 lakhs from Rs. 1 crore. Reducing the pecuniary jurisdiction has ensured that commercial disputes go to Dedicated Courts for cost effective and speedy disposal.
c) Random and automatic allocation of commercial disputes has been introduced through the Case Information System (CIS 3.2) to automatically assign cases, without any manual intervention, in the Dedicated Commercial Courts of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.
d) Electronic Case Management Tools (ECMTs)for Judges and Lawyers: To enhance judicial and court productivity, ECMTs have been introduced for judges and lawyers providing information related to case pendency, case status, orders and judgments, briefs and case documents, etc. These ECMTs are accessible from both eCourt Services web portal and mobile application. The India Code has been seamlessly linked with ECMTs comprising of around 800 laws. Integration of ECMTs in one digital platform is a key achievement. The JustIS app in Android and IoSversions integrating 8 ECMTs is available and being used by Judicial Officers.
e) Compliance with Maximum Three Adjournment Rules: To ensure compliance of time standards and maximum three adjournment rule, HC of Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Karnataka issued advisory to all Dedicated Commercial Courts to strictly adhere to these norms in at least 50% of commercial cases. Active enforcement of maximum three adjournment rule has reduced the time taken for trial, arguments and final judgment. The Maximum 3 Adjournment Rule has been integrated with CIS 3.2 software including a checkbox with colour Band alerts indicating number of adjournments.
f) At present, 13 High Courts have court annexed Mediation and Arbitration centres attached to the Commercial Courts under their jurisdiction. In other High Courts the ADR mechanism is dealt by the Mediation Centres/ADR Centres. 463 ADR Centres and 574 Mediation Centres in District Court Complexes are being run by the Legal Services Authority in India.
g) e-filing service has been launched in Dedicated Commercial Courts of Delhi and Mumbai. E Filing 3.0 has recently been launched. e-filing has been made mandatory for all the Central Govt. Ministries/Depts. in commercial litigation and state of Karnataka and Delhi have also made e-filing compulsory for all govt. commercial litigation. e-filing has made filing of cases easier, environment friendly and the lawyers can file a case from home or any location 24×7 without the need of being physically present in the court.
h) A software patch has been developed to facilitate sending e-summons through emails/SMS alert by obtaining database of companies registered with Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Besides reducing the cumbersome procedure and logistical inconvenience in notice-serving, e-Summons will result in saving of time and cost thereby improving the overall functioning of these Courts.Tested successfully in Delhi and Mumbai Commercial Courts and operationalised. Work on operationalizing e-summons in Kolkata and Bengaluru Commercial Courts is also being implemented by the respective High Courts.
- Who is eligible to apply under Scheme for Action Research and Studies on Judicial Reforms?
A Plan Scheme for Action Research and Studies on Judicial Reforms is being implemented by the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms since 2013. Under the Scheme, financial assistance is being extended for undertaking action research / evaluation / monitoring studies, organizing seminars / conferences / workshops, capacity building for research and monitoring activities, publication of report/material, promotion of innovative programmes / activities in the areas of Justice Delivery, Legal Research and Judicial Reforms. From the financial year 2021-22 onwards, the Scheme was incorporated under the “non-scheme” component of Department of Justice.
Institutions such as Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Indian Institute(s) of Management (IIMs), Indian Law Institute (ILI), National Law Universities (NLUs), National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), National Judicial Academy (NJA), State Judicial Academies (SJAs) and other reputed institutions working in the field of justice delivery, legal education and research and judicial reforms may apply as per the Scheme guidelines. The Guidelines and prescribed format for proposals can be accessed at : https://doj.gov.in/guidelines
- What is the Rule of Law Index and what is its importance?
The traditional concept of Rule of Law revolved around the concept of “supremacy of law”, “equality before law” and “predominance of legal spirit” given by Prof. Dicey. However, the modern concept includes within the traditional concept, the issues of safety, freedom, rights, justice and governance. Today, Rule of Law is an important tenet for fair and functioning societies; underpinning development, accountable government and respect for fundamental rights. It is a perpetual challenge of building and renewing structures, institutions and norms that sustain a rule of law culture.
The Rule of Law Index(ROLI) is developed and published by World Justice Project (WJP). It is based on the four principles of “Accountable Government”, “Good Laws”, “Good Process” and “Access to Justice”
ROLI quantitatively measures rule of law-in-practice by way of survey/polling of general public and sector experts.
ROLI 2021 covers 139 countries and ranks them based on the country-specific data collected across 8 factors and 44 sub-factors. India’s current rank in ROLI is 79 out of 139 countries in the world as per the ROLI 2021 report. India’s position in 2020 was 69/128 and the best rank till date has been 62/128 during year 2017-18.
DoJ is undertaking formulation and implementation of a reform action plan in order to improve India’s ranking in ROLI under the Global Indices to drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG) exercise of NITI Aayog for driving India’s performance across important social, economic and development parameters and improve means of citizen service delivery.
- What is the Data Governance Quality Index? What are its benefits?
Data Governance Quality Index(DGQI) is an exercise initiated by NITI Aayog for enhancing data preparedness and development of data systems that ensure smooth processes of data generation, management and utilization by institutions to drive decision making.
DoJ has devised a roadmap for building integrated data systems for data collection and to ensure end-to-end digitization and data visualization of all its Schemes/Non-Schemes. Robust data systems will facilitate data-driven decision making by using data analysis to identify lacunae/gaps and address those data gaps to aid in decision making.