27 September, 2020

70 Years Of Indian Judiciary | Opinion: Our Courts Need To Be More Welcoming, Accessible, Purpose Driven

All kinds of people access courts, including persons with special needs. Any institution that seeks to be accessible to a diverse audience must be prepared to accommodate and make comfortable everyone, write Sumathi Chandrashekaran and Reshma Sekhar

From the Raj’s court
Left, An English magistrate in the 1880s labours under a punkah; his Indian counterpart goes about his business without it
Photograph by Getty Images
70 Years Of Indian Judiciary | Opinion: Our Courts Need To Be More Welcoming, Accessible, Purpose Driven
outlookindia.com
2020-08-30T16:20:55+05:30

Indians largely tend to shy away from the very idea of litigation. The tales told by those who see it up close will not encourage the rest: inordinate delays, multiple appearances, and the whole bureaucratic tangle starting from the filing of a petition until the final judgment. Enough to leave a lay person intimidated. But while navigating the judicial process is a harrowing experience in itself, there are more material reasons that would dissuade potential litigants from approaching the courts: the state of court infrastructure.

Anyone who has visited a public institution can testify how infrastructure plays a key role in ensuring the quality of service delivery. Courts are no exception. We collected data in a nationwide survey of 665 district courts, including feedback from 6,650 litigants, to put together evidence on the quality of India’s judicial infrastructure. The conclusion is clear: our courts need large-scale imp­rovements to make them more welcoming, accessible and purpose-driven. Here, we chalk out how a day in...

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