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Report No. 189

(b) Views of National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution

No doubt, the judiciary has been included as a plan subject by the Planning Commission (Sawant J. in All India Judges case, 1993 (4) SCC 288 at p. 310), but the manner of giving grants by the Central Government is criticized by the National Commission to review the Working of Constitution (NCRWC). In a Consultation Paper on 'Financial Autonomy of the Indian Judiciary', the NCRWC after mentioning the observation of Sawant J. in 1993 (4) SCC 288, regarding including of judiciary as a plan subject, has stated (paras 9.15.1 - 9.15.2):

"There is no exclusive grant by the Centre for Court expenditure. All that we have is an insignificant 'centrally sponsored scheme' for Courts prepared by the Planning Commission while allotting some monies for each State on population basis.

Further, the present scheme has become nothing but an eye wash for it requires the States to provide matching grant, or else the central grants lapses. Most States are not able to provide matching grant and the result is that the central grant lapses. To put it bluntly, the so called inclusion of judiciary as a plan subject is no inclusion at all as it is totally unrealistic, unplanned and unrelated to the scenario at the grass root level and also at the level of appellate and superior courts."

Even otherwise, there is no proper planning and adequate financial support for administration of justice in our country. In this regard, National Commission to Review the Working of Constitution in its Report (Vol. I) has observed as follows (at para 7.6.1):

"Judicial administration in the country suffers from deficiencies due to lack of proper planning and adequate financial support for establishing more courts and providing them with adequate infrastructure. For several decades the courts have not been provided with any funds under the Five Year plans nor has the Finance Commission been making any separate provision to serve the financial needs of the courts." (emphasis supplied)

The NCRWC in its report has also emphasized the need for providing financial support by the Central Govt. in administration of justice. It has recommended that (para 7.8.2):

"Government of India should not throw the entire burden of establishing the subordinate Courts and maintaining the subordinate judiciary on the State Governments. There is a concurrent obligation on the Union Government to meet the expenditure on subordinate Courts. Therefore, the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission must allocate sufficient funds from national resources to meet the demand of the State judiciary in every of the States."

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