India’s Chief Justice: “Most subordinate courts lack basic infrastructure”

Last year I discussed a shocking story on the backlogged conditions in India’s courts, and the extraordinary consequences of that backlog for litigants, lawyers, and judges alike. Speaking this week at the opening of a new courthouse, India’s Chief Justice Deepak Misra once again acknowledged the problem, stating that the courts lack the basic infrastructure needed to competently manage their caseloads.

The Chief Justice apparently blamed the challenges on the “miniscule” budgetary allocation that the courts receive. And surely the courts are hampered by the limited space and staffing they receive. But blaming the problem entirely on resource dependence is problematic in its own right. Delays and administrative problems have been shown repeatedly to be at least partially a problem of court culture. Can the Chief Justice convince the country’s judiciary to adopt internal changes and accountability measures that might, in the end, win them additional support for more resources?

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