e-Court Project is one of the mission mode projects of Central Govt. of India. Centralised website http://ecourts.gov.in/ was created by the Supreme Court.
1) Paper has served the judicial system well, in terms of documenting and preserving, pleadings, evidence and orders / judgments.
2) But, there are problems with a paper based system.
3) Not eco friendly.
4) Requires more and more storage space.
5) Paper necessarily involves care and maintenance for its preservation and places a heavy demand on human resources.
6) A lot of time and energy is spent on the management of paper files for filing, retrieval, transportation and preservation.
7) All this means that the paper system eats into time and ultimately, efficiency.
8) Printed transcripts or photographs ate usually used.
9) But, the intonations, the expressions and visually perceptible demeans our are lost.
10) As the world is moving from paper to digital media , there are very many documents which do not exist in paper form at all.
11) The paper print-out of such a document would be the copy and not the original!
12) For example, a print-out of an e-mail is the copy !
13) The original e-mail exists in digital form.
So, what is the solution?
1) The world wide move towards digital and away from paper as a medium for communicating and recording ideas , concepts,arguments, presentations etc. coupled with the inefficiencies of a paper based system and grave storage problem , make it an imperative too.
2) Transform our judicial system from being paper based to one where pleadings, evidence, orders and judgments are documented and archived on digital media.
3) To achieve this end, e-courts which are truly paperless courts would have to bee established.
1) Would entail that from presentation of a plaint or petition till its disposal and archival, no paper is used!
2) Since all the documents would be in digital form, it would solve the problem of shortage of storage space.
3) Since it would be a paperless and automated court, it would reduce he burden on human resources.
4) Paperless courts would lead to increased efficiency and would save time.
5) Audio- visual evidence can easily be captured and presented in the court.
Requirements of an e-Court
1) Digitization of decided cases.
2) Indexation of such digitized records on key parameters for easy retrieval.
3) Authentication of digitized records and simultaneous weeding out of paper records.
4) Digitization of current files and simultaneous introduction of e-filing.
1) Service of summonses, notices, warrants would be through e-mail via the internet.
2) The digitally authenticated service report would be transmitted to the court registry via e-mail. This process would cut down the time taken, in completion of service which is a major to delay to court cases.
E-Hearing (Courtroom technology)
1) One computer for the judge with LCD touch-screen display monitor-large enough for reading pages at a time.
2) One computer for the typist/reader/court master.
3) One computer for the arguing lawyer/advocate.
4) In trail courts, facility for video conferencing and audio video recording of oral evidence and large LCD panel for display of evidence.
5) Connection to high speed Local Area Network (LAN) for accessing case files and case information details located in servers.
6) The judge would, instead of handling a bulky paper file, on the click of a button have access to the e-case file.
7) The reader/court master would be relieved of the burden of lifting heavy files and worrying about papers of different case files being interchanged.
8) The advocated would bring their laptops and open up the relevant case files while arguing.
1) Orders and judgments dictated in open court or in chambers would be keyed in by the typist into their computers which can be accessed by the judge over the LAN and corrected without requiring any draft being printed on paper.
2) The finalized orders / judgment would be signed by the judge using his digital signature and would be added to the relevant e-cases files via the CIS.
1) Digitally signed copies of orders and judgments would be uploaded instantly onto the court website for easy access over the internet.
2) E-Copies of entire e-case files would also be made available on-line to the parties or authorized personnel.
3) Certified copies either in paper form or digital form would be provided by the court registry.
1) All digital data e-Case files data would be archived for quick and easy retrieval while maintaining safety and security standards.
2) The archived and current data would be backed up each day to two different locations in the same city and to a third location in a
relatively disaster- free and trouble-free city. This would save the data from destruction due to fire, theft, natural calamities, war and strife.
1) The court would increasingly move toward digital cause lists which would be available over the internet.
2) The e-cause lists would, if required, also be e-mailed to the advocates. Parties would, if they so desire, be alerted of their next dates
via e-mails or sms.
1) Courts must be litigant-friendly.
2) There are three ways in which a litigant can directly obtain information from the court .they are:-
3) Via the Judicial Service Center.
4) Via e-mail.
5) Via web site.
The court website would provide:-
1) General court information.
2) Cause lists.
3) Case status.
4) Online filing.
5) Orders and judgments in PDF.