Judicial Infrastructure and Pendency in Trial Courts

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in a bench comprising of former CJI UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat, heard a petition regarding the infrastructure of all trial courts in India. CJI UU Lalit observed that an article 32 petition on this matter cannot be entertained and that the issue has already been highlighted in the Joint Conference of Chief Minister of States and Chief Justice of High Courts held to consider steps in improving the justice delivery system in the country. This conference focused on the development of IT infrastructure for lower courts, appointment of computer officials, communication of orders and judgment through email facility to all stakeholders, use of AI and other tools to ensure time-bound and accessible justice for all.

The petitioner ML Sharma insisted that the issue is of grave importance and has not been addressed previously, and no instructions have been given for the infrastructure of the District Courts. Justice Ravindra Bhat highlighted that when Justice Gogoi was the Chief Justice, the matter was taken up on a suo-moto basis; however, due to the pandemic, it has not been taken up. Subsequently, CJI UU Lalit observed that the bench would call for papers which were disposed by the bench presided over by Justice Gogoi when it was heard by him and directed all matters pertaining to the issue to be listed together.

Judicial Infrastructure and Pendency in Trial Courts

The development of infrastructure facilities at the State level remains critically important, and in order to build up the resources of State Governments, the Union Government has implemented the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Development of Infrastructure Facilities in district and subordinate courts in order to provide funds in a prescribed sharing ratio.

  • The scheme is operated by the Department of Justice under the Union Ministry of Law and Justice and was implemented from the year 1993-1994 to cover the construction of court buildings, residential accommodations for judicial officers of district and subordinate judiciary.

  • The scheme has been extended from 2021-2022 to 2025-2026 with a budgetary allocation of Rs. 9,000 crores with a central share of Rs. 5,307 crores.

  • The scheme now also covers the construction of lawyer’s halls, digital computer rooms, and sanitation in district and subordinate courts.

Hence, even though a number of steps have been taken both at the Centre and State level, lack of proper infrastructure and increased pendency still remain a challenge.

Constitutional Provisions

The Constitution of India under Article 38(1) reiterates that-

“The State is required to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may ‘a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.’”

  • The aim was to engage the State in social transformation and establish a social order based on various domains of life, including political, social, and economic spheres.

  • In order to envision this justice, the Constitution guarantees a number of fundamental rights to protect and promote political, social, and economic justice.

Similarly, a right to speedy trial is also a fundamental right essential to guarantee of life and personal liberty however, as per the data at the National Judicial Data Grid, over 4.20 crore cases are pending in various district courts, and problems which are district and court specific calling for a decentralized review and focus on the district and subordinate judiciary.

One of the key challenges in improving the judicial infrastructure is proper allocation of funds and coordination between the Centre and States. It can be improved by better and increased interaction between the Centre and State level officials and enabling effective implementations of central schemes and programs. This will allow realistic allocation and distribution of funds and resources, making the States responsible and creating a sense of ownership for the central schemes and programs.

This acute lack of infrastructure in lower courts has been more evident with the recent pandemic crisis. While the Supreme Court and High Courts have developed a digital footprint, the District and Subordinate Courts have suffered massively due to the COVID-19 induced virtual mode and increased pendency.

Today, the need for a revamp is not only in the physical infrastructure like the judicial courtrooms, residential units, room for record-keeping, access to people with disabilities, and library but also in developing digital and virtual conferencing facilities.


The role of the Judiciary is to act as a guardian of the Constitution and ensure an effective and time-bound judicial system. It is important to make efforts to strengthen the judicial system through improving judicial infrastructure and resources, use of information and communication technology for better case management and efficiency at various levels of the judiciary. It will be interesting to witness the reforms and developments in years to come and see how the apex court will address this critical issue in order to meet the aspirations of citizens of a speedy justice and justice which are accessible for all.


Q1. What is judicial infrastructure of India?

Ans. Judicial infrastructure of India covers, all the structural facilities and other related amenities provided to the judges and other judicial officers to deliver the justice smoothly. Such as construction of court buildings and residential accommodations etc. covered under judicial infrastructure.

Q2. What are the reasons of pendency of case in court (in India)?

Ans. Following are some of the major reasons of pendency of cases in Indian legal system −

  • Less number of judges and judicial manpower

  • Lack of proper infrastructure to run a proper court

  • Inefficient court procedures and practices

  • Corruption and political interference

  • Complex legal procedures and technicalities

  • Overburdened court dockets

  • Inadequate use of technology

  • Lack of legal aid and representation for marginalized communities.

Updated on: 15-Feb-2023


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