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High Court to get Rs. 50 crore for infrastructure development

Special Correspondent

Karunanidhi promises substantial funds in successive budgets

RECEIVING THE GUEST: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi greeting Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan during the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Law Officers' Building at the Madras High Court in Chennai on Sunday. Union Minister for Communica tions and Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran (left); Supreme Court judge AR. Lakshmanan and Chief Justice of Madras High Court A.P. Shah ( right), are in the picture. — Photo : M. Vedhan

CHENNAI: The State Government will allot a minimum of Rs 50 crore this year for augmenting infrastructure in the Madras High Court.

Responding to a request from Chief Justice A.P.Shah that enough funds be made available for infrastructure development, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Sunday said substantial funds would be made available in successive budgets, starting this year.Justice Shah made the request at the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Law Officers' Building and the inauguration of digital display boards at the High Court.

The Government would make available all required facilities at the court, the Chief Minister said, adding that the ongoing computerisation drive at the court was initiated during one of his earlier tenures as Chief Minister.

Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan unveiled the foundation stone while Mr. Karunanidhi inaugurated the display boards. Information technology powered the State's growth and after the completion of the ongoing IT corridor project in August, the 20-km stretch from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri would be the best IT zone in the world, he said.

The entire judiciary in the State would be networked at a cost of Rs. 24.5 crore and funds were expected soon, Justice Shah said. The computerisation of the High Court had been partly completed. Efforts were on to include other courts in the State, he said.

The judiciary in Tamil Nadu was trying to implement the alternative dispute resolution mechanism and the State Government should allot more funds for the purpose, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said.

Pending cases

Several courts housed in old buildings in the State were in need of immediate restoration. Though the Supreme Court disposed of 31,000 cases a year, there was an annual pendency of 4,000 to 5,000 cases. Therefore, an increase of judicial infrastructure was needed, he said.

There was an urgent need to construct a guesthouse for the Madras High Court, Markandey Katju, Supreme Court Judge, said.

Even smaller courts in the country had well-furnished guesthouses, such as the one at Villupuram. Enough land was available on the Judicial Academy premises. The State Government should allot funds for the construction.

Judicial officers from Tamil Nadu were leading the way in setting up mediation centres.

The State should immediately make available a sum of Rs. 1 crore for improving the mediation centre at the High Court.

Sufficient allowances, such as Rs 3,000 a month, for hiring domestic help should be given to retired judges, he said welcoming the proposal to increase financial compensation for widows of lawyers from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

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