E-Courts in India

Saloni Srivastava | 11-May-2017

The very purpose of this article writing contest organised by Fagnum is to keep you well informed of the current affairs taking place in our country.

How many of you out there are familiar with the project initiated by the Indian government, that of "e-courts"?

Even if you don't, that's quite alright because this article will get you to be in the know.

The "E-courts" Project was officiated in the year of 2005, implemented by the NIC (National Informatics Centre). The purpose of the project was computerisation of the judicial system of the country, which also includes ‘taluk’ courts (district courts).

According to the plan of this project, work for all District courts began in 2008 and they were computerised by the year 2010.

Speedy justice is a complex practice when it comes to implementation, but we can definitely get closer to it by the usage of services provided to the common man by the E-Courts Project.

Certain other facilities such as the entry of backlog cases (cases that have been pending for too long), centralised filing system (all records present in one central location), updating of cause list (a schedule of cases to be heard on the day that follows), etc. have begun.

The goal of this project is to develop, install, deliver and implement machine-operated decision making and decision control systems in the District as well as lower courts of the state with aid from e-Committee of Supreme Court of India.

E-courts in India

Image courtesy- squarespace.com

Some of the objectives that this project aims to achieve are:

1) To help Judiciary organise their everyday schedule

2) To assist the Judicial system decrease the number of pending cases

3) To keep the litigants well informed of the progress of the respective cases

4) To provide the judge with access to databases with all available filings of required cases

5) To empower the litigants and lawyers with citizen-centric services.

For each court, the IT department assigned one systems officer and two system assistants. This service was started in District courts in the year of 2009.

The project mentioned above also has an interesting feature: that of producing witnesses to the case in court with the help of video conferencing. That's right. Now witnesses can do the necessary from wherever they are, without the hassle of travelling miles to give their statement.

Filing of the cases, further proceedings and other relevant details will be stored in the database.

Since each court will have technical assistants to take care in times of system failures or errors, they need to be trained in efficiently tackling runtime issues as well as other problems.

There is another thing you need to know about, as long as we are brushing the subject of E-Courts: Computer Server Rooms.

Computer Server Rooms- Cum- Judicial Service Centres are an integral part of this project.

These Judicial Service Centres are present in all the court campuses. The general public, like you and me, and lawyers, alike can walk directly inside during open hours and ask for case related information, i.e.; status of the case, stage it is in and the next scheduled hearing date.

As it is an entirely computerised framework, data security must be kept in mind as this is the data of the nation’s judicial system in question. Security breaches should be prevented and back-ups maintained in case required at any point.

The process of the implementation of the project has been a slow one, given the delays due to technological advancements and unfinished work from the judiciary’s point of view.
These delays could have been better dealt with and prevented via better pre-planning and coordination among the stakeholders. Further delays occurred due to late funding approvals, faulty budget estimation, and unsound allocation of resources.

However, the project has proved to be beneficial in the long term. Although constant maintenance and technical enhancements need to be taken care of, regardless of other challenges that the project might face. There is much more that needs to be developed and implemented in the venture and it will surely happen with time.

Overall, life in the judicial strata just became a lot easier. This is a giant leap towards development in the country.

Now that you know about E-Courts go ahead; share this knowledge with your friends as well.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Fagnum.com. The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.
About the Author
Saloni Srivastava
An engineer in the making, with an inquisitive mind and a passion for writing.