Sixty Seven percentage of court complexes in India aren't disabled-friendly

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'Charity begins at home' proverb appears to own got lost within the judicial corridors. The Supreme Court in 2017 mandated all public buildings to effect structural changes to become disabled friendly, but a whopping 67% of court complexes are yet to implement the decision.

As per a report compiled by the Supreme Court Registry, "Only 33% of court complexes are differently-abled friendly." After giving a series of directions on December 15, 2017 for creating public buildings disabled friendly in accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2017, the SC took stock in January 2019.

On January 15, 2019, it had said, "More than a year has passed since the judgment was delivered. The indifferent attitude of the States and therefore the Union Territories shows that they're not serious in complying with the directions contained within the judgment... We take strong exception to the lackluster attitude." It had given three weeks to the states and UTs to implement its December 2017 judgment directions.

At a time when an extreme heatwave has gripped the country, judicial officers in 83% of courtrooms are sweating it bent read through bundles of case files and listen to heated arguments from lawyers. For, only 17% of courtrooms have air-conditioning facilities as per the SC report.

But, these don't seem to be the sole reasons why CJI N V Ramana had vigorously pushed for a state level judicial infrastructure development authority, which fortunately struck a chord with the Chief ministers and therefore the Chief Justices of the High Courts. However, Justice Ramana's proposal for a national level judicial infrastructure development authority has been pegged back for further discussions. 

In a communication to the Union government, the CJI had highlighted the abysmal condition of the court complexes across the country. Toilets, essential to ameliorate pressing daily needs of lawyers and litigants, are absent in 16% of the court complexes. As many as 26% of the court complexes don't have any washroom facilities for ladies. The condition of existing toilets in most court complexes in semi-urban areas, visited by many litigants and lawyers, is nauseating.

The other deficiencies in court complexes are equally concerning: 95% of court complexes don't seem to be equipped with even basic medical facilities; 46% don't have purified drinkable facilities; 73% of courtrooms don't have computers placed on the judges' dais with video-conferencing facilities; 68% courtrooms haven't any separate record rooms, and, 49% of court complexes don't have any library.