Speedy justice through Digital system

Technology is not only assisting the state in speedy disposal of cases but is also helping the common man to access justice.

Justice delayed is justice denied. But the Indian Judiciary is plagued with perennial litigation and long legal battles. Data revealed a whopping nearly 3 crores civil and criminal cases were pending before the courts during the period of  2015, to  2016. There is a shortage of 5,000 judicial officers across the country. The state is grappling with the pendency of matters, overworked judges, overburdened court staff, chronic shortage of court space and unending wait for justice. The only weapon in the state’s arsenal to deal with this atrocious situation is “technology”. With the proliferation of automated legal tools, we are witnessing new methodologies that reduce or eliminate tedious legal tasks. Going digital seems to be the only solution to fix the logjam.

Technology is not only assisting the state in speedy disposal of cases but it is also helping the common man to access justice.

Filing a complaint is just a click away

Just like you book your movie tickets, air tickets or recharge online you can also file a legal complaint or register an FIR online. A digitalised manner of registering complaints and creating accountability was the need of the hour. Filing an FIR, a civil case, an RTI application, consumer grievance, application for document verification, licensing, etc., increased accountability of the authorities while saving a lot of hassle for a common man. Courts also provide regular case status updates through their web portals. In a recent legal development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a new website of Supreme Court of India which features an all new Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS).

This feature also enables digital filing of cases. Under the ICMIS digital filing, an applicant is simply required to file the grounds of appeal to the Supreme Court and the system will automatically retrieve other documents pertaining to the case from the concerned High Court.

NEED FOR UPDATION:

In this age of increased public awareness and increased expectation by the people from the judiciary, we have to keep ourselves abreast of the latest happenings around us. Thus, the need for judicial education. A judge may work more efficiently if he is aware of the currents and passions of the time, the developments of technology and the sweep of events.

In these days of technological development, the courts are also expected to develop law in the matters of procedure to render speedy and transparent justice. If technology is introduced in courts right from the filing of the case till the judgment is delivered, we can achieve the constitutional goal of speedy justice.

WHY DIGITALIZATION OF THE RECORDS IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR:

Hon’ble Justice Vimala, Judge, High Court of Madras observed in a revision filed in an appeal relating to partition of property, where an Additional District Court in Coimbatore passed orders, against which two appeals were preferred in 2009, wherein from February, 2009, the case i.e., appeal was 4 adjourned 89 times for want of records, with a simple remark as “Awaiting Records”, though both the trial court and appellate court are situated in the same campus and calling for records could have been complied within 10 minutes and hence, lamenting on poor computerization of Subordinate courts, it was observed that India has emerged as an Information Technology power house of the world, but not Indian Judiciary.

The High Court of Judicature For The State of Telangana and The State of Andhra Pradesh is on job of implementing the guidelines of the E-Committee to implement the paper-less court. Most of the Courts in Andhra Pradesh are computerized and updation of data is a regular process which we are effectively implementing. The next step ahead is the Paperless court.

Madras High Court in the above referred matter, suggested certain measures to enhance timely justice and to improve the image of judiciary and mooted a centralized digitalized record room saying that once the suit is numbered, its particulars are to be entered in digital form and a bar barcode be created and it can be pasted in the docket, so that, when the barcode is scanned with a hand scanner, all the basic details of the case will be shown in the computer. Further a security Check can be created by authorizing only higher level staff and judicial officer to have access to the documents of the case.

By introducing such a system, a uniform safety of records would be ensured to all documents pertaining to all courts, irrespective of the availability of space, character of the staff handling the documents and the physical handling of the records will totally come to an end. The possibility of missing record can be avoided to large extent. The traditional method of filing a petition in courts has been a paper format. Frequent handling of physical documents often causes deterioration and mutilation of records. Digitalization of statistics, judgments, records are the need of the hour. Thus even, the Hon’ble Madras High Court suggested paperless court or less paper court for speedy justice. 

WhatsApp and Facebook chats are now considered as evidence

Gone are the days when a conviction for an offense was based upon a person statements and traditional evidence like circumstantial clues, the weapon used in the crime etc. Courts now consider electronic evidence as an acceptable form of evidence. Recently, a trial court of Haryana convicted three law students in Sonepat for blackmailing and gang-raping a junior from their University. The conviction was done by relying on the extensive and detailed WhatsApp conversation between the rape victim and the law students.

Courts can now send summons through WhatsApp

The Delhi High Court has approved the use of technology and social networks like WhatsApp, SMS, and email to serve a summons in judicial proceedings in the matter of Tata Sons v. John Doe(s) and Ors.

You can track your case status online

Once you have filed a case you can now check the status of the case, date of next hearing, history of the orders passed by the court and everything online by clicking at http://services.ecourts.gov.in/ecourtindia_v5/. You no longer have to visit the courts or government departments to know about the developments of your case. To check the case status you need either the name of the party, case number, filing number, FIR number, Act, or case type.

Online mediation to be a reality soon

In a recent meeting, Law Ministry’s Department of Justice deliberated on ways by which pendency of cases can be reduced in India. The center has floated the idea of introducing online mediation on the lines of “Online Consumer Mediation Centre” at NLSIU, Bangalore. The online platform with the motto “Anytime Anywhere Dispute Resolution” enables you to lodge complaints online after which it is sent to the company for effective resolution of the dispute within 30 days. Parties are free to go for mediation if negotiation fails. The platform then appoints a third party neutral arbitrator. Similarly, in the government related disputes, the complaint will be forwarded to the concerned department after it is registered with the online platform. The nodal officer or panel of officers will then be responsible for mediation and the matter would then go to arbitration if it is not resolved within 30 days.

Get Online Legal Consultation

The government has recently started “Tele-Law” services across 1000 common services centers in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to provide free legal consultation.

 

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