Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to file a status report on the number of proposals pending and cleared, pertaining to various needs of the judiciary. The report, in a chart form, should also have details of proposals likely to be cleared and schedule for the clearance, the full bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justices T S Sivagnanam and R Mahadevan, said. The court's direction came during the hearing of PILs, one filed in 2002 by lawyer 'Elephant' G Rajendran and another one in 2011, on funds allocation for judicial infrastructure, appointment of adequate staff and funds to the Judiciary. Earliar on November 10, the court had taken serious view of non allocation of funds to the judiciary and sought an affidavit from the State Finance Secretary as to whether the Tamil Nadu government "is proposing to declare a financial emergency." The bench had also noted that due to non allocation of funds, the higher judiciary in Tamil Nadu was constrained to postpone two training programmes for judicial officers. The State government today submitted that it is taking all steps to promptly provide funds as and when required by the judiciary. Finance Secretary K Shanmugam in the counter submitted that the state's finances were under stress for the past two to three years, mainly due to tax revenue falling short of the projection, particularly in commercial taxes, resulting in a significant increase in revenue deficit over the years. Upto October last itself, the revenue deficit touched Rs 15,652 crore. The counter said there was no intention to declare a financial emergency and Rs 35 lakh had been allotted for the programmes by the judicial academy on November 11. On 100 pending proposals sent by the judiciary, involving Rs 150 crore, it said government had attended to and already issued orders for Rs 91.56 crore, involving 32 proposals. Stating that a concurrence for 40 proposals involving Rs 187 crore was in the pipeline, it said government is proactive and positive in handling files relating to the judiciary. On the submission that only 0.36 acres was available for the judiciary to expand infrastructure against 0.57 acres at the old bus-stand in Esplanade, the bench directed the Vice Chancellor of Anna University to nominate a team of experts to study this aspect and submit a report byJanuary 12. They should independently verify this fact and ascertain if there could be an alternative which may result in release of the land to the court, the bench said. It also said land earmarked for the Puducherry block is not likely to be utilised by that government. If this space was available, the whole area could be used collectively in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu government for court infrastructure, the bench added.
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