While India has introduced significant economic reforms since 1991, it still faces institutional constraints in higher growth. These include legal and judicial systems that do not provide adequate infrastructures for a market based economy to function. The legal system must be in conformity of the global norms. The Information & Communication Technology (ICT) plays a very important role in the social, economic and intellectual development of a nation. The fundamental principle behind justifying the existence of a sound judicial system is to ensure dispensation of justice at the earliest opportunity. It has been established that with the help of Information Technology, the process of dispensation of justice can be made easier, fast, less expensive involving lesser manual labour. The courts in India have started making use of techniques of information technology to a greater extent.
Delay in disposal of cases
India is said to possess one of the fairest legal systems in the word. One of the shortcomings that have been noticed in Indian Judicial System is the delay in the disposal of cases in courts primarily due to lack of adequate infrastructure. Inadequate administrative and logistic support system for the courts with huge work load brings down the administration of justice to a halt. The large number of vacancies of judicial officers in courts further aggravates the problems. Judiciary in India is caught in a vicious cycle of delays and backlogs. The effectiveness of a Judicial System is measured by its capacity to provide a timely and apposite justice to the parties to the dispute. It was felt to increase the speed of disposal of cases and reduce pendency.
Use of ICT
Technology offers solution to some of our problems. Putting in place a modern and efficient justice delivery mechanism with the help of computerized and online systems spanning the entire judicial infrastructure will help increase the disposal of cases.
In order to enhance judicial productivity, the Government had set up an e-committee to formulate a plan for computerization of the justice delivery system in the year 2004. The Government of India launched its 'ICT Enablement for Indian Judiciary' programme in the year 2005 on the recommendations of e-committee which prepared and submitted its report 'National Policy and Action Plan' which is now under implementation. It will provide computer rooms in all court complexes, laptops to judicial officers, and technology training to judicial officers and court staff. It will also provide a database of new and pending cases, automatic registries and digitization of law libraries and court archives. It promises video-conferencing in the Supreme Court and all High Courts; digital production of under trial prisoners so that they do not have to be brought to court for extension of remand; and distant examination of witnesses through video-conferencing
In Supreme Court, e-filing is available in the registry. Additional documents can be filed through internet. Most of the judgment and orders are put on the website. The process of providing digital connectivity to all the judicial officers has already commenced.
Positive sign visible
Efforts put in by the e-committee have already started showing positive results. In Supreme Court and some High Courts' judgments and orders are available on Internet. In most of the High Courts, generation of cause lists and posting of cases to various courts are done by the computer system without human intervention. The impact of the computerization process and information Technology in court management has streamlined and modernized Registries' day-to-day work. The process of computerization has started in the subordinate courts in India. Some of the District Courts are now able to generate cause lists, store judgments, generate certified copies, monitor case flow and help litigants get case status information from query counters.
We can trust that Information Technology will surely find a solution to get rid of the scourge of laws delay. The speed and accuracy in the legal system is bound to radically change the future of the civilization and will give India a legal system in conformity with the global norms.
Manoj K. Singh,
Managing Partner, Singh & Associates
Singh & Associates
N-30, Malviya Nagar
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