District Courts are the first site where a law student faces and learns about the complexities related to the Indian Judicial System. District Courts are subordinate to High Courts and High Courts are subordinate to the Supreme court. District Courts are wholesome in their form and reflect the true picture of the population in that particular district. It is expected to be a place where justice is served. The District Court is the starting point for almost every case or lawsuit except for writs which are in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and certiorari for enforcement of Fundamental Rights or for any other purpose.
Recently I finished my internship at the District Court and the senior advocate under whom I was interning did not ask me whether I knew the sections of I.P.C. and Cr.P.C. but he on daily basis asked whether I know how to cook or how I help my mother in the kitchen. Among other things I was taught how women should behave and cook. While a District Court may seem like a treasure mine to someone unfamiliar with the Indian legal system a simple question always strikes our mind, what are the reasons for poor management of lower courts and what are the conditions of these courts? Basically, with time the condition of the district courts in India has developed but still, there are reasons for the inefficient working of district courts in India.
There has been a huge contribution of district courts in bestowing justice which they are doing now too but still, the problems of the District Courts have not been put to an end fully. Let us put our heads together on the conditions of Indian district courts:
- Physical Infrastructure: When it comes to the infrastructure we mainly focus on improper sanitation and a healthy environment but we miss out on one special point, i.e., the common staircase and corridor for the common public, advocates and accused. Those who are accused in a case are brought from jail in a police van and are presented before our hon’ble judges of the District Court. Accused are handcuffed and tied with a rope and are handled by a single policeman. The common public and advocates have to share the staircase with them which is much narrower as compared to a common staircase. There must be an assigned place for them to sit and there must be a staircase from the back for the policeman to carry them. This somehow shows the patriarchal mindset of people. Women advocates and interns have to tolerate them from very near. Before answering this one must question oneself what can a single policeman, who is carrying the accused, do if the accused do something inappropriate? What is the remedy for a crime which can be prevented? Prevention is better than cure. Only buildings, hygiene, and green environment do not come under infrastructure. Maintaining a good working place for women advocates and interns will ensure efficient and competitive District Courts.
- Improper sitting arrangement: People appearing before the court and their families face the problem of proper sitting arrangement. Usually, there are fewer sitting facilities available outside the courtrooms. They have to wait while standing outside the courts for a long duration no matter what the weather is. In general, the waiting area should be clean with proper ventilation, washrooms, and availability of drinking water. Only furnishing and keeping the courtroom clean and hygienic will do no good to the common public.
- Corruption: Corruption is indeed a practice present in every sphere of life. It is followed by advocates in resolving disputes. The Bench is composed of the Judge in the centre of the courtroom, on the right of the Judge the reader is seated, and right below the Bench is the stenographer and the clerk who handles the drafting of documents. The orderly announces each case as per the cause list, i.e., a list of cases to be taken up that day. The orderly generally sits on the side of the reader. Money is given to courtroom staff like the reader, steno, and clerk for the easy disposal of cases or for getting any document illegally. It is spoiling the basic spirit of litigation and judicial administration in District Courts. Such involvement of money in the operation of justice creates a hindrance to the fair justice system. The corrupt lawyers who have the support of political parties are freely practising in the courts and there is no one to keep an eye upon or question them. Hence, it makes the condition of district courts internally more rotten.
- Advocates plot: Many advocates file a false or fake medical report of the client for the adjournment of the case. To stop this practice the court must accept only certified medical reports. Advocates use many other tactics to delay the judgments because either they are not prepared for their arguments on time or they themselves don’t want that case should close at the earliest possible date. It leads to unreasonable and unfair justice delivery and the party at no fault suffers the most.
- Parking facilities: District Court is a place where there is an excess crowd of advocates, common people, interns, and small shops for eating and for the purpose of photocopying. The crowd results in choking and it subsequently leads to the jamming of vehicles of judges, advocates, clients, workers, clerks etc. Many District Courts in India does not even have parking facility available on court premises. If there is one, it is not organized which results in the jamming of vehicles and blockage. This leads to noise pollution in the premises of the Court which consequently disturbs the peaceful working of the court in such areas.
- Navigation facilities: According to the National Court Management and Systems (NCMS) Committee report, a court complex should have a guide map, a reception centre along with a facilitation centre, and a document filing counter at the entrance of the complex. Basically, publicly placed signs or signage, guide maps, and help desks to enable general people or interns to know the locations in courtrooms, comprises of navigation facilities. A guide map of the main building is a must for people to understand the complex structure of the Court. A minimum of one helpdesk either at the entry or main building should be there as the majority of the litigants are illiterate.
There is no doubt as such about the justice delivery system of district courts in India but the issues mentioned above have to be cured for more efficient, effective, and good-quality justice. There are many solutions to the above-provided problems but the Central and State government need to coordinate among themselves to make it possible for the Indian subordinate judiciary to remove these chinks. There is an urgent need for investment of necessary resources in the subordinate judiciary. There is a need for making necessary adjustments in district courts to successfully meet the expectations of the common public from these institutions and to maintain their faith in the Judicial system. There have been various efforts made to increase the efficiency level of the Indian district courts but the success rate is not much high. Some of the solutions for making District Courts more efficient are provided below:
- Before giving adjournments reasonableness should be taken into account.
- Separate and clean washrooms with ventilation should be there for women.
- Recruitment of more female judges should be done and the environment must be made apt for women advocates and interns.
- Advocates must follow the Advocates Act, 1961.
- Issue of corruption problem should be resolved and strict actions must be taken by the concerned authority.
- Irrelevant or trivial issues should not be brought to the attention of the court.
- Negotiation and mediation techniques should be promoted to resolve the problem of the excess burden of cases.
- Hon’ble Judges should not be always held responsible for the increasing workload on the judicial system.
- Parking facilities and other issues like a separate way for the accused from the backside of the building, waiting for areas for the general public, and availability of drinking water should be solved accordingly.
Author(s) Name: Priyanshi Raj (Chanakya National Law University)
 ‘Critical Analysis of District Court Situation in India’, Vaishalibansal
accessed on January 4, 2023.
 ‘Conditions of Indian District Courts’< https://indianlegalsolution.com/conditions-of-indian-district-courts/ > accessed on January 4, 2023.
 ‘Building Better Courts’<https://vidhilegalpolicy.in/research/building-better-courts-surveying-the-infrastructure-of-indias-district-courts/ > accessed on 4 January, 2023
 Advocates Act, 1961