E-Judiciary In India: A Much Needed Initiative

E-Judiciary In India A Much Needed InitiativeCjnews India has covered a news item titled “e-judiciary in India is needed”. The concept of e-courts or e-judiciary is not new to India since talks about establishment of e-courts in India are in progress since 2003. Despite many talks, establishment of e-judiciary in India always remained a dream. As a result electronic delivery of justice in India is still struggling and facing many techno legal hurdles.

There is no doubt that e-courts can bring speedier and economic justice to Indian masses. Right to a speedy trial is contained in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It mandates a speedier and timely disposal of a case. Presently, India is facing a mammoth backlog of cases that can be reduced drastically by use of technology and e-courts. Technology can also help in achieving the objectives of National Litigation Policy of India.

The efforts for the establishment of e-courts in India are not sufficient and needs rejuvenation. This is happening because the legislature and executive are not versed with the litigation and the legal fraternity is never consulted while making techno-legal laws. India is also not experimenting well with concepts like online dispute resolution (ODR). In the absence of any interest for ODR in India this concept has still not been adopted by Indian government.

India has been experimenting with technology for long. Even a basic level legal framework has been introduced in India in the form of Information Technology Act, 2000 though it requires immediate repeal or amendment. There are many shortcomings of the IT Act 2000 and one of them is non binding nature of e-governance obligations of Indian government. The National E-Governance Plan (NEGP) of India has also failed to meet its objectives and marks. As a result India has failed on the fronts of both e-government and e-governance.

While India is still struggling to deal with basic level technology adoption, the BJP government has announced projects like Digital India and Internet of things (IoT) that rely prominently upon technology. These projects intend to extend the services to general public in the filed like healthcare, education, judicial services etc.

As far as judiciary is concerned, we are still struggling to establish the first e-court of India till October 2014. In these circumstances, achieving the objective of establishing e-judiciary in India is still a distant dream. E-judiciary project of India is also suffering from lack of techno legal expertise to manage the same. For instance, we have a single techno legal e-courts training centre in India. There is urgent need to develop e-courts skills in India so that e-judiciary project can become a reality.

However, it is not the case that no progress has been made in this regard. India judiciary has taken a pro active role to introduce technology for legal and judicial purposes. For instance legal notices can be served through e-mails, e-filing directions has been prescribed by Delhi High Court, marriage registration certificates can be obtained through video conferencing, etc.

If India wishes to achieve her noble objective of providing access to justice to marginalised segment of India, courts automation and digital preservation, much more is required to be done. Mere policy formulation is not going to be helpful and it is the actual implementation that is important. The BJP government must stress upon actual implementation than formulating policies and strategies that remain on paper alone.