About

Building Better Courts Surveying the Infrastructure of District Courts

The lower judiciary is the first point of contact for most litigants in India today. A user- friendly court equipped with all necessary facilities lies at the core of accessibility to the judicial system. Public discourse has conventionally centred around the issue of legal accessibility, asking whether individuals are able to consider litigation as a forum for resolution in the first place. This project seeks to start a conversation around other equally important aspects of court access, namely, the physical and digital architecture of the lower judiciary. This website will be an important tool for the judiciary and policymakers to understand the functioning of courts under their jurisdiction. The data presented herein this report will facilitate more informed conversations among relevant stakeholders, and ultimately, help us build better courts.

In 2012, the National Courts Management Systems Committee (NCMS) put out a baseline report on the Court Development Planning System, which, for the first time in India, identified benchmarks to ensure that courtrooms are designed so as to be litigant-friendly. We used these same benchmarks to study 665 district court complexes all over India as part of a comprehensive assessment of the preparedness of our lower courts for litigants.

A district court complex refers to the complex which houses the District and Sessions Court, which is the highest court that administers justice in a judicial district. This does not include courts that are subordinate to it, that are presided by judges lower in rank to a District Judge or Sessions Judge, except in places where they share the physical court complex. Court complexes that house both District and Sessions Judges as well as lower ranked judges were surveyed as a whole.

This website will be an important tool for the judiciary and policymakers to understand the functioning of courts under their jurisdiction. The data presented herein this report will facilitate more informed conversations among relevant stakeholders, and ultimately, help us build better courts.

In case of any queries, clarifications or errors please write to us at jaldi@vidhilegalpolicy.in