NEW DELHI, Sept 7 – In what has turned out to be a case of major embarrassment for Government of Assam, Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia has expressed his dismay at the bid to hoodwink him by painting a rosy picture about existence of adequate infrastructure facilities for judges, lawyers and litigants in the lower courts.
The Chief Justice of India, who was on an official tour of Assam and Meghalaya, last week, narrated his experience, stating that impressed by the infrastructure facilities shown to him on paper, he wanted to see it with his own eyes.
However, the State Government officials pressed the panic button, when he expressed his desire to go for on-the-spot verification.
Later, embarrassed officials conveyed to Chief Justice Kapadia that most of the facilities mentioned in the infrastructure status reports sent to the apex court existed only on paper.
“Last week, I went to Rajasthan and this week to Assam and Meghalaya. Since the (states) reports said buildings had come up, I insisted on seeing the site. The officials got panicky and apologised to me saying all that was stated in the report was false. There was no building,” the Chief Justice stated in his court.
Justice Kapadia, who is heading a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and K S Radhakrishnan, stated that they did not want a repetition of this in other states. The Bench wanted the Centre to conduct an on-the-spot verification of all pending construction projects relating to subordinate courts to match the state’s claim with the ground realities.
Justice Kapadia’ observations followed Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium’s submission that a final report on the Infrastructure Fund for lower courts was being finalised. Further information from the states was being awaited as till date, only seven states had filed their response, he added.
Since the Monitoring Committee under the Department of Justice is expected to meet soon, the Chief Justice of India remarked that if the Department of Justice is going to forward its reports containing false information, then it has to be first verified. “You must take it up in the meeting”, he directed the Solicitor General.
Acting as amicus curiae in the proceedings initiated by petitioner All India Judges Association, senior advocate Fali Nariman said it would be a disaster, if wrong information is passed on in this manner. This is bound to happen again, he observed.
He suggested that the verification of ground realities should involve the concerned Chief Justice of the state judicial infrastructure.