Govt wants special cadre of officers to manage lower courts: Minister
The government wants a specialised and permanent cadre of officers in the state services to handle the administration and finances of lower courts, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said in a communiqué to the chief justices of the country’s high courts.
These roles are currently handled by the judicial officers and judges. The high courts are responsible for the administrative functioning of the lower courts that fall under their jurisdiction.
In an identical letter to 24 chief justices across the country earlier this week, Prasad said he wants to know the judges’ views before asking state governments and moving forward on the proposal.
An earlier plan to have court managers to assist judges in managing court administration and finances has been a non-starter, the government said.
Prasad wrote that the 13th Finance Commission had allocated Rs 300 crore between 2010 and 2015 for the lower courts to appoint court managers.
“However, it has failed to achieve its desired results. Only one-third of the sanctioned amount was released and one-seventh utilised,” he wrote.
“Recruitment on contract basis, low remuneration package, reluctance on the part of the judiciary to accept court managers to participate in judicial process have been identified as some of the reasons for failure to attract suitable candidates,” Prasad pointed out.
The government’s move is aimed at keeping judges free from administrative and financial matters, “so that they can devote more time to judicial work”.
The lower judiciary is burdened with over 2.7 crore cases and large scale vacancies in its ranks. Of the sanctioned strength of nearly 22,000 judicial officers in the states, nearly 5,000 positions are vacant.