Recently, the Chief Justice of India proposed creation of a National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India (NJIAI).

Important points:

  • The proposed NJIAI could work as a central agency with each State having its own State Judicial Infrastructure Authority, much like the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) model.
  • NALSA was constituted to establish a nationwide uniform network for providing free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society.
  • NJIAI will take control of the budgeting and infrastructure development of subordinate courts in the country.
  • The proposed NJIAI should be placed under the Supreme Court of India unlike NALSA which is serviced by the Ministry of Law and Justice.
  • It will not suggest any major policy change but will give complete freedom to HCs to come up with projects to strengthen ground-level courts.
  • In the NJIAI there could be a few High Court judges as members, and some central government officials because the centre must also know where the funds are being utilised.
  • Similarly, in the State Judicial Infrastructure Authority, in addition to the Chief Justice of the respective High Court and a nominated judge, four to five district court judges and state government officials could be members.


  • Of a total of Rs. 981.98 crore sanctioned in 2019-20 under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) to the States and Union Territories for development of infrastructure in the courts, only Rs. 84.9 crore was utilised by a combined five States, rendering the remaining 91.36% funds unused.
  • The issue has been plaguing the Indian judiciary for nearly three decades when the CSS was introduced in 1993-94.
  • The Indian judiciary’s infrastructure has not kept pace with the sheer number of litigations instituted every year.
  • A point cemented by the fact that the total sanctioned strength of judicial officers in the country is 24,280, but the number of court halls available is just 20,143, including 620 rented halls.
  • The improvement and maintenance of judicial infrastructure is still being carried out in an ad-hoc and unplanned manner.
  • The need for “financial autonomy of the judiciary” and creation of the NJIAI that will work as a central agency with a degree of autonomy.

Way Forward

  • The courts in India had repeatedly upheld the rights and freedoms of individuals and stood up whenever individuals or society were at the receiving end of executive excesses.
  • If we want a different outcome from the judicial system, we cannot continue to work in these circumstances.


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