Bombay HC in urgent need of new building: CJI SA Bobde to law minister
The Bombay high court (HC) in Mumbai is in urgent need of a bigger and better building as the current heritage complex is inadequate to meet the ever growing needs of the HC, chief justice of India SA Bobde said.
Justice Bobde, who was in Goa as the chief guest to inaugurate a new high court complex, requested Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also in attendance, to expedite his pending proposal for a new building in Mumbai.
“Bombay also needs a new building. The Bombay building was constructed for seven judges. It is now housing more than 40. It is impossible and there is a proposal pending with the government. Mr Law Minister, I would request you to expedite it,” Justice Bobde said.
The Bombay HC is presently housed in a heritage structure that was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2018. The work on the present building of the HC was commenced in April 1871 and completed in November 1878.
It was designed by British engineer Col. James A Fuller, part of The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai.
In 2016, it was announced that the premises of the Bombay HC would be shifted to Bandra-Kurla Complex.
Justice Bobde also said that discussions concerning the improvement of judicial infrastructure should go beyond just buildings and spaces.
“Discussions on infrastructure have been largely quantitative, that is on building more courtrooms. Though building more courtrooms is necessary and important, there was very little emphasis on modernising existing courtrooms. In this regard, though the pandemic has posed a lot of problems to access to justice, it has paved the way for modernising the courtroom,” Justice Bobde said.
“I see a trend of having smaller courtrooms in the future because of Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad’s ministry. The e-filing and data which can be contained is going to take away the need for many storage rooms and many rooms which are necessary for storing paper. The Supreme Court (SC) has done its bit on issues of court infrastructure. It has devised benchmarks and frameworks for minimum standards,” he added.
According to the law ministry, 8.2 million cases were heard through video conferencing. The SC heard 59,309 cases, Hcs heard 2,758,560 cases and subordinate courts heard 5,446,876 cases.