Only 15% of district courts have washrooms for women: Survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 01, 2019

Only four out of 10 district courts in the country have “fully functional” washrooms with running water, while 15 per cent do not have washrooms designated for women, according to a survey conducted by New Delhi-based Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy (VCLP).

The independent think tank covered 665 such court complexes , and found that at least 80 district courts do not have any washroom facility at all and only 11 per cent of the complexes have washrooms meant for persons with disabilities.

Ease of navigation

The report titledBuilding Better Courts: Surveying the Infrastructure of India’s District Courts mentioned that only 20 per cent district courts (133 out of 665 court complexes) have guide-maps and 45 per cent (300 court complexes) have help desks.

According to the report, visitors (litigants) often had trouble in finding their way around.

VCLP researchers also interviewed at least 10 litigants from each of centres for the study. Questions included queries about ease of navigation and access, accessibility, amenities and hygiene. “Larger States where there are more courts to administer such as Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh performed poorly as compared to the smaller States like Kerala, Telangana where there are lesser number of district courts,”said Reshma Sekhar, Research Fellow at VCLP.

No regular periodic audit or review of court infrastructure is undertaken at the State and district level by any government or judicial authorities, she added.

The report mentioned that only 54 per cent (361 district court complexes) have designated waiting areas.

Around two-thirds of respondents said that more seating is needed in the waiting areas while 37 per cent suggested better ventilation in the waiting rooms.

In terms of barrier-free access, only 180 district court complexes were accessible through ramps or lifts, while meager 13 court complexes had built-in visual aid features.

According to the report, the district court complexes of Chandigarh and Lakshwadeep are the best performing Union Territories. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry are the worst performing among UTs.

Delhi, Kerala, Meghalaya, Haryana are among the best-performing States in terms of infrastructure of district courts whereas Bihar, Manipur, West Bengal and Jharkhand are the States with the poorest overall infrastructure.

Published on August 01, 2019

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