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Court infrastructure tops Budget agenda

Last updated on: February 29, 2008 18:12 IST

Improvement of infrastructural facilities for judiciary and computerisation of courts have emerged as focus areas of the government, which has more than doubled the funds for 'administration of justice' in the law and justice ministry's allocation for 2008-09.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has raised the funds for administration of justice to Rs 253.12 crore (Rs 2.53 billion), compared to Rs 108.20 crore (Rs 1.08 billion) in the last Budget.

Showing an urgency for delivering speedy justice, the government has decided to computerise district and subordinate courts in a big way.

The Budget allocated Rs 115 crore (Rs 1.15 billion) for the purpose while there was no financial provision for it in the Revised Budget for 2007-08.

In its bid to address issues related to the huge arrear of over 2.5 crore (Rs 25 million) cases in lower courts, the government has also raised the allocation for Special Courts by 600 per cent, from Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) in 2007-08 to Rs 13 crore (Rs 130 million) in the current Budget.

Similarly, the allocation for Fast Track court has also been increased by 13 per cent as compared to last year.

Adopting a pro-poor litigant approach, the government has raised the allocation for providing legal aid to the needy through National Legal Services Authority by 18.03 per cent as compared to the previous year.

Wary of the faux pas over the Ram Setu affidavit, the government has decided to spend more on improving the quality of its legal advisers and counsels.

The allocation for this purpose has been raised to Rs 36.52 crore (Rs 365.2 million) from Rs 30.94 crore (Rs 309.4 million) in 2007-08.

The Supreme Court received special attention from the finance minister who raised its kitty by three per cent from Rs 56.74 crore (Rs 567.4 million) in 2007-08 to Rs 58.57 crore(Rs 585.7 million) for the next year.

The apex court is likely to spend the funds on its administrative expenditure including provision for salaries, travel in respect of the Chief Justice of India and other judges.

The money is also likely to be used for maintenance of CCTV, charges for security personnel and office and security equipment.

The plan outlay for administration of justice and other in the North-Eastern Areas has been more than doubled from Rs 120 crore (Rs 1.2 billion) in the last budget to Rs 260 crore (Rs 2.6 billion) in 2008-09.

For the crucial task of issuing photo identity cards  to voters, the government has made a provision of Rs 23.66 crore (RS 236.6 million), up Rs 4.35 crore (Rs 43.5 million) as compared to the last Budget. 

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