Twenty-six percent of court complexes in India do not have a separate toilet for women, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, December 2. The minister was responding to a question by Biju Janata Dal MP Amar Patnaik who asked whether the government is aware that around 16 percent of courts do not have separate washrooms for men and women and whether the government has any plans of making the courts of India more accessible to women and transgender persons.
â€śThe Registry of Supreme Court of India compiled the data on the status of judicial infrastructure which reveals that 26% court complexes do not have separate ladies toilet,â€ť Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju wrote in his reply.
Responding to the BJD MP, the Law Minister submitted that the primary responsibility of development of infrastructure facilities for the judiciary and courts rests with the respective state governments. The Minister added that the Union government has been implementing a centrally sponsored scheme for the development of infrastructure facilities in district and subordinate courts by providing financial assistance to states and Union territories.
This scheme has also been expanded to cover facilities like toilets, digital computer rooms and lawyers' halls in the district and subordinate courts. â€śRs. 47.00 crore have been approved for the construction of Toilet complexes in the District and Subordinate Courts,â€ť the Law Minister said, adding that in total, under this scheme, the Union government sanctioned Rs 8709.77 crore to states and Union territories.
He added that under this scheme, funds have been released by the Union government for construction of court buildings and residential accommodations for judicial officers of the district and subordinate Judiciary. â€śThe Government has extended the above scheme for a further period of five years from 01.04.2021 to 31.03.2026, with a total budgetary outlay of Rs 9,000 crores, including Central share of Rs 5,307 crores,â€ť Rijiju wrote in his written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
In response to the MPâ€™s query why there is only one woman Chief Justice in India, the Law Minister said that there is currently no woman Chief Justice of any High Court in India. â€śThe appointment of Chief Justice of a High Court is done by the Chief Justice of India. The Appointment of Chief Justice of High Courts is made under Article 217 of the Constitution of India, which do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons. At present, no woman is a Chief Justice of any High Court,â€ť the Law Minister said.