Emphasising that the justice at the doorstep should be made the priority, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the Center has approved Rs. 9000 crores for the lower judiciary. The fund will be utilized for the infrastructural demands for more courtrooms, digitalised rooms, and toilets in judicial complexes across the country.

The statement on approval of fund by the Law Minister assumes significance as Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, on September 11, had said in a function at Allahabad that courts in India still operate from dilapidated structures, without proper facilities as good infrastructure for the judiciary has been neglected after the British left.

The Law Minister was speaking at an inaugural ceremony of Gajanand block at Tis Hazari Court in Delhi. He said that the government recently took a big decision for the judiciary. Cabinet has given approval for Rs 9,000 crore for the lower judiciary. The Minister added that even now judges sit in rented houses to work and there are no toilets for female lawyers and judges.

Law Minister promised that in the next few years, demands such as more courtrooms, digitalised rooms and toilets in the judicial complex will be fulfilled due to the cabinet decision. The Minister also said that it will be done in three to four years, while stressing that 'justice at the doorstep' should be made a priority, looking at the pendency of over four crore cases in the country, ninety percent of which are in the lower judiciary.

He said, "villagers knock on the door of the court after selling their houses and belongings. It affects their life when they do not get justice. Thousands and lakhs of people wander in district courts, metropolitan courts, and gram nyayalayas, but fail to get any justice. Justice at the doorstep is the priority. When we get focused on this, all the problems will be solved".

Stressing on reforms in legal education to improve the quality of lawyers and judges, Kiren Rijiju said, there is a need for reforms in the legal education system and to increase its standards, as good legal education will produce good lawyers and judges.

The Minister added that the quality of good judges will lead to the quality of good judgements. We do not want to appoint any judge due to which people will start questioning the judiciary, he said, adding that there is a need to train judges and lawyers for arbitration and mediation as well.

Besides Rijiju, Justice Siddharth Mridul, Justice Suresh K. Kait, Justice Prathiba M Singh and Justice Talwant Singh of the Delhi High Court, as also Delhi Law Minister Kailash Gahlot were part of the inaugural ceremony.

Delhi Bar Association President Sanjeev Nasiar put forth various demands before the Union Law Minister, including for a lawyers' academy and the Advocate Protection Act. Gahlot echoed the voice of the Bar and appealed to the minister to fulfill these demands.

Justice Siddharth Mridul said that Ninety percent of the work is with only ten percent of lawyers, few are daily wagers. They have faced issues during the pandemic, few have returned home. I hope their demands are fulfilled, he added.

This compelled Kiren Rijiju to say, in a lighter vein, that the chemistry of the Bar and the Bench is great.

With PTI Inputs