Sunday, February 13, 2011

Govt has funds for freebies, not courts: CJ fumes

Pulling up the state government for not providing basic amenities in subordinate courts even though it was spending heavily on freebies, Madras high court Chief Justice M Y Iqbal on Friday directed it to provide sufficient tables, chairs and water and toilet facilities at the George Town court in two weeks. He gave the direction after a surprise visit to the court on Friday.

A three-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice, took up suo motu the issue of deficiency in facilities at the complex. During the hearing, Justice Iqbal said the court halls were very small and cramped and the furniture old and damaged. There were no chairs for advocates and they were forced to use plastic stools and benches.

"There is only one toilet and no one can go near it. There is no toilet for undertrials and the litigant public.

Sanitary condition of entire building is very bad,'' he said.

"Legal aid centre is below the ground level. Remand prisoners' room is now used as property room and they are made to wait in police vehicles till the court calls the matter," Justice Iqbal said.

He asked additional advocate general P Wilson: "You (the government) are distributing lakhs and lakhs of free television sets and why you are not providing even basic amenities at GT court premises?'' When Wilson wanted time to get instructions from the government, the CJ told him: "No instructions. Fulfil the requirements."

Make George town a model court: CJ to TN

Wilson said the government allotted Rs 300 crore for the judiciary and proposed to construct a combined court complex in Egmore. Justice Iqbal then said, "You are not doing charity. It is your duty. What is the percentage of funds you spend for the judiciary? It may not be even 5%." When Wilson asked for two weeks to do the needful after consulting the chief metropolitan magistrate and the George Town court bar association, the Chief Justice said, "Why do you need two weeks? You are erecting big platforms for political meetings and independence day celebrations within two days."

Later, he directed Wilson to provide all basic amenities at the court complex in two weeks. "Make the George Town court a model court within two weeks. Let's begin from this court." Justice Iqbal also directed Wilson, the chief metropolitan magistrate and the PWD chief engineer to visit the court on Saturday to study its requirements. The order said that the court required 75 chairs, 25 tables and 10 benches, among other things. The HC on July 7, 2009, sent a request to the government to provide sufficient furniture to district, chief metropolitan magistrate and other courts in the city and sought an amount of Rs 9.41 crore. Despite reminders, there was no response to the letter, the order added.

news from : Times of india

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