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Post at: Sep 24 2022

e-Court Mission Mode Project

On August 5, 2022 Minister for Law and Justice, Shri Kiren Rijiju briefed about the ongoing developments under e-Courts Mission Mode Project.
e-Courts Mission Mode Project

  • Conceptualized By: "National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary-2005".
  • Implemented Since : 2007 
  • As a part of : National E-Governance Plan
  • Monitored and Funded by : Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice,
  • Vision : To transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT (Information and Communication Technology) enablement of Courts.
  • Examples : Virtual Hearing, SUVAS (Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software), SUPACE (Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Court Efficiency)
  • The e-Committee of the Supreme Court has been overseeing the implementation of the e-Courts Project.

Implementation

  • The project is  being implemented in two phases. The Phase I was executed between 2011 and 2015. The Phase II is being implemented between 2015 and 2020.
  • The e-Committee Supreme Court has prepared the draft vision document for Phase III of the e-Courts Project under the auspices of the Supreme court of India.
  • Phase III of the e-Courts Project in India is rooted in two central facets as Access and Inclusion.
  • The main feature of the third phase that it might have the capability of being automated judicial proccedings through AI.

Recent Developments under E-Courts

  • National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG): Lawyers and litigants can access case status information of 20.86 crore cases and more than 18.02 crore orders/judgments.
  • Virtual Courts: Currently there are 20 Virtual Courts in 16 States / UTs.
  • Case Information Software (CIS): Smart scheduling of cases thereby enabling judicial officers to retain urgent cases and adjourn cases not urgent on cause list.
  • Using Video Conferencing:The service have also been operationalized between 3240 Courts and corresponding 1272 Prisons.
  • An e-Filing system : For the electronic filing of legal papers with advanced features like online submission of Vakalatnama, e-Signing etc.
  • WAN Project: 2972 of 2992 court complexes have been provided with 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps bandwidth speed.
  • Justice Clock: To bring awareness to the public about justice sector by advertising.
  • A ‘Judgment & Order Search’ portal: For searching judgments easily by providing a repository for Judgments and Final Orders of the High Courts.

What are E-Courts?

  • E-Courts are electronic courts where matters of law are adjudicated in the presence of a qualified judge. They are different from a computerised court.
  • In E-courts, the litigants can file their pliant electronically, view their status of cases online, pay court fee and fines online.
  • E-courts are not virtual courts.

Need of the Project

  • To provide time bound citizen centric services.
  • To install, develop and implement decision support systems in courts.
  • To automate processes and provide transparency to its stakeholders.
  • To enhance judicial productivity and to make the justice delivery accessible, predictable, transparent and reliable.

Advantages of E-Courts

  • They make the courts affordable to all sections of the society.
  • It makes litigation faster.
  • The experience of E-courts is personalised and private.

Challenges of E-Courts

  • The staff are not well equipped to maintain e-court records.
  • Data theft and cybersecurity issues.
  • Data collection by the government may end up as “targeted surveillance”.

Conclusion

  • Digital technology has a significant impact on how quickly justice is delivered. However, as technology is only a tool and not a goal in and of itself, it is important to safeguard the privacy and fundamental rights of individuals.

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