SRINAGAR: Dr Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India, laid the foundation stone for the new High Court complex of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh at Raika in Jammu on Wednesday. Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Manoj Sinha, and Brig BD were part of the ceremony.
The event also witnessed the launch of two significant IT initiatives: the Document Management System (DMS) for the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and the National Service and Tracking of Electronic Process (N-STEP) for District Courts.
Dr Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud expressed his admiration for judicial officers, referring to them as frontline warriors. He urged them to uphold the expectations of the common man who seeks justice. He emphasised the importance of ensuring access to justice for every section of society, particularly the poor and underprivileged.
The Chief Justice also emphasized the need to encourage the active participation of women in the justice system.
“The new High Court complex will be an integrated complex, equipped with state-of-the-art physical infrastructure and modern amenities,” Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said. He lauded the e-Committee of the Supreme Court and the Department of Law and Justice for their efforts in incorporating futuristic technologies such as artificial intelligence into the court system, ensuring seamless and efficient justice delivery. He commended the citizen-centric approach, ease of justice, and digital empowerment reflected in the millions of hits received by e-Court Services daily.
“The 75-year journey of India’s independence stands as a testament to democratic institutions fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of common citizens,” he said. “Our Constitution has served as a guiding light, ensuring prosperity, socio-economic progress, and dignity for all.” He stressed that the IT initiatives launched for the High Court and all District Courts would make the legal system inclusive and accessible to all.
On the occasion, the functionality of the DMS was showcased through a video presentation, and mobile phones equipped with the N-STEP Application were distributed to Process Servers to mark the initiative’s launch. The event was further embellished by the enchanting performance of the girl students from the Louis Braille Memorial Residential School, who presented the Saraswati Vandana.
The court complex is expected to cost Rs 938 crore.
The complex will have 35 courtrooms with the possibility to extend them to 70. It has been designed by architect Guneet Singh Chauhan who has designed many High Courts including Delhi High Court, metro stations and malls. Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation and the Public Works Department will be constructing the complex.
Reports appearing in the media suggest the complex will have three auditoriums, an administrative block, a mediation centre, a medical centre, a computer centre, a judges’ library, chambers for 1000 lawyers, facilities for litigants, food courts, an archive section, and a total of 35 judges and staff.
It will also be equipped with accommodation, Judicial Academy, convention facilities, a helipad, a fire station, a transport facility centre, etc. Besides, there will be sports, gym and yoga centre facilities for judges and lawyers. The project is targeted to be completed in one and a half years.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s Jammu premises was operating from Mubarak Mandi complex till the 1990s. In 1994, the High Court Complex was shifted to Janipur Jammu, in a huge premises where from the District Complex, the Advocate General’s office, the Judicial Academy and the Registrar’s Office also operated. Now a new complex is coming up in the Raika Jungle area on the outskirts of Jammu for which the Chief Justice of India laid the foundation stone on June 28.