After a series of “surprise inspections” of lower courts in several districts by Chief Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, the Rajasthan High Court has passed a slew of directions for strengthening the infrastructure of courts, improving facilities on the court premises and giving security to judicial officers. The court has asked the State government to prepare a roadmap for all court complexes to provide facilities in a time-bound manner.The Chief Justice had visited the lower courts in Alwar, Udaipur, Banswara, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Bharatpur and other districts recently as a common man, without informing the authorities, and found serious infrastructural shortcomings. Almost without exception, public facilities such as toilets and drinking water for litigants and lawyers were inadequate, and at some places, virtually non-existent.A status report submitted by the State government in an ongoing case filed by the Rajgarh Bar Association revealed that adequate security was not available in most of the courts, while a tabular statement for 330 court complexes submitted by the High Court establishment showed that the Bar Rooms, litigants’ waiting area, lock-up, canteen, toilet, water cooler and parking facilities were lacking in them.A Division Bench, comprising the Chief Justice and Justice P.S. Bhati, observed that while statistics and figures painted a grim story, the actual ground reality was worse. “The statistics do not point out the condition of facilities with regard to footfalls… On a rough conservative estimate, 1.50 lakh persons visit the courts everyday, adding up to 4.50 crore annually. The State has the primary responsibility of ensuring minimum hygiene and cleanliness in these public buildings,” said the court.The court directed the State government to indicate within a month how it proposed to provide the required facilities in the court complexes in a time-bound manner. These facilities will include advocates’ chambers, adequate water supply for drinking and other use, canteens, separate public toilets for men and women and litigants’ sheds, which were essential for smooth functioning of courts.Posting the case for further hearing on August 26, the Bench also directed the State government to immediately take steps to deploy police guards at the residences of Principal District Judges and make appropriate security arrangements for all judicial officers. The court said suitable security arrangements for safety in the court complexes should also be made.Meanwhile, the State government’s Law Department has issued orders for getting houses for judicial officers on rent in the event of non-availability of government residence for them. A committee comprising the Collector, District Judge and the Public Works Department’s Superintending Engineer will get the houses at the district level, for which the State government will pay full rent.