Judiciary goes hi-tech for speedier justice

April 12th, 2009 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

By Kanu Sarda
New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Now all past judgements are just a mouse-click away. It not only saves time but helps judges catch lawyers citing wrong judgments. This was witnessed during the hearing Thursday in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in a Delhi court.

When Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Rakesh Pandit was told by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel that the court was not empowered to hear a case involving murder and cited an apex court ruling of 1994 to back the argument, the magistrate was not convinced.

Judge Pandit asked the court staff to bring his laptop and began searching for the apex court ruling.

Within seconds, the apex court ruling was in front of him. He informed the CBI counsel that the judgment cited has been set aside by the apex court in 1998, and therefore the contention of the investigation agency held no ground.

The CBI counsel had no option but to seek time to prove his contention over the magisterial court’s jurisdiction. The court slated the matter for April 28.

The idea of giving laptops along with internet connection to judicial officers was mooted by the e-committee of the apex court in 2007.

“It saves a lot of our time. We now don’t have to read and carry bulky books with us. We read even during travelling, which also saves us a lot of paperwork,” said a judicial officer not wishing to be named.

The establishment of e-courts is also helping in speedy disposal of cases in the lower courts.

“One of our objective is to enable judicial officers access judgments of the apex court, high courts and even international courts at the click of a button and speed up their research work for a judgment, thus improving rate of disposal,” the e-committee headed by Justice G.C. Bharuka said in his report to the law ministry’s five-year plan to computerise all courts for speedy disposal of cases.

For the common litigant, the e-courts project is lending greater transparency to the judiciary as well as speedy disposal of cases.

With web connectivity, the moment a judicial officer passes a judgment it gets automatically uploaded on the national judicial website (www.indianjudiciary.in) - thus reducing the waiting time for litigants to get copies of the order. They would earlier have to wait for hours outside the courts to get a copy of the order.

Judges now don’t have to depend on the steno or other court staff to dictate orders. Many of them do the keying themselves while travelling or at home.

“With this system, our dependency on the stenos and other support staff of the courts has also come down,” added the judicial officer.

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