Disputes and litigation have so much increased in India that they have overburdened our judicial system. Courts are struggling hard to cover the backlog of cases but the backlog keeps on increasing on a daily basis.
Many of such disputes can be either avoided or they can be resolved without litigation. Information and communication technology (ICT) can play a significant role in this regard as ICT can not only prevent unnecessary cases from entering into the judicial system but it can also eliminate the vices like bench hunting. Access to justice for marginalised people in India can also be enhanced using ICT. It is clear that ICT is going to play a major role in the governance of India.
For too long it was felt that electronic delivery (e-delivery) of services in India is required. However, e-delivery of services in India remains missing till now. With the announcement of Digital India and Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives by Narendra Modi Government, things are definitely going to change. This is more so regarding fields like education, healthcare, Judiciary, etc.
As far as Judiciary is concerned, the concepts of online dispute resolution (ODR) and electronic courts (e-courts) must be essential part of the Digital India and Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives. Both ODR and e-courts must also be part of the national litigation policy of India (NLPI) as well. In short, legal enablement of ICT systems in India is need of the hour.
Unfortunately, till the month of November 2014 we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court of India. In fact, the e-courts project of India received a major blow recently when the e-committee refused to record proceedings at the courts in audio and video formats. Similarly, India has not used ODR for dispute resolution purposes so far.
Indian Government is considering amending the Arbitration law of India and also to bring suitable changes in the NLPI. We at Perry4Law Organisation and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) strongly recommend that ODR and e-courts must be integral and essential part of the amended Arbitration law and NLPI. We hope Indian Government would consider these suggestions while amending the Arbitration law and NLPI during the winter session of the Parliament.