Litigants face harrowing time at Ludhiana district courts

  • Sumeer Singh, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: May 02, 2016 15:52 IST
Fire-safety equipment installed years ago in the complex are not in a working condition. (JS Grewal/HT Photo)

Thousands of visitors who come to district courts for hearing of their cases are a harried lot owing to the ailing infrastructure of the district courts complex premises.

Visitors have to battle unavailability of a properly functioning elevator, inadequate sitting arrangement, unnecessary delay caused to visitors owing to shortage of staff and poor fire safety equipment among lack of potable water at the court complex on a daily basis. Worst affected are senior citizens, who rue that coming to the complex is always a harrowing experience.

A visit by the HT team exposed the state of affairs at the complex, as lifts were not functioning. Besides, there are not enough seats for the litigants in a courtroom or even anywhere on the premises. More than 10 judges in the courts are functioning from the room of ahlmads (clerks) with almirahs partitioning the courtrooms in some of the cases.

Drinking water supplied through water coolers is not hygienic. (JS Grewal/HT Photo)

Ruing the sorry state of affairs at the district courts, physically disabled Kallu (35) said, “I had to take three halts before I could make it to the ground floor from the fifth floor. I am shocked at authorities’ passive approach towards arranging proper facilities, and get the elevators repaired, which run out order every now and then.”

“Considering volume of the visitors to the complex, proper functioning of elevators must be ensured on priority,” he said.

Jodhan village resident Darshan Singh (66), who was out of breath at the staircase and halted midway, said “I had to take stairs to go to the sixth floor and come down. Since I have a knee injury, it took me 10-12 minutes each time.”

Space an issue for staff and visitors

A lawyer at the district courts complex, requesting anonymity, said, “Around 4,000 registered and practicing advocates and more than 500 visitors come to the complex daily, but authorities have never taken a serious view when it comes to providing basic amenities to either the visiting members or the staff. There is an acute shortage of staff in almost every court room, including suwidha centre, due to which visitors are often subjected to unnecessary delay.”

No emergency passage

“Moreover, the fire-safety equipment installed years ago are not in working condition. There is no provision for an emergency passage in the building in case of fire or any untoward incident. Drinking water supplied through water coolers is not hygienic, and in summer there are chances of contracting water-borne diseases among visitors. As most of the staff members are aware about the unclean water, they prefer bringing it from their home,” he added.

Poor elevator service

Another section of visitors decried the poor elevator service. Didar Singh (75), and 40 other visitors standing outside the courtroom on the sixth floor, lamented the poor sitting arrangements inside the court complex.

Harleen Kaur, another visitor, said, “During my last visit to the complex in March, I had to spend the entire day by either standing or sitting on the floor. The number of ceiling fans is also not adequate. Owing to shortage of staff, employees here can be seen overburdened all the time. In such a scenario, how would the time-bound delivery of justice be ensured?”

District Bar Association president Vijay Verma said, “We ensure that visitors do not have to face any sort of inconvenience at the district court complex. We keep a regular check and work on their (visitors) complaints to provide all basic amenities.”

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