Digitising of judiciary will usher in speedy justice delivery, says SC judge

Paperless court, e-filing, and e-office projects launched

Paperless court, e-filing, and e-office projects of the High Court of Kerala will be building blocks to digitise and modernise the Indian judiciary, as they will simplify and speed up the judicial process, while ensuring decentralisation of justice, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud (who is also chairperson of e-committee of the court), said on Saturday.

Such measures will considerably lessen the burden of stakeholders, mainly litigants and lawyers, by taking justice delivery to the doorstep of litigants. Being a pioneer in education and literacy, Kerala must ensure 100% computer literacy for lawyers and other stakeholders, including litigants, through easy-to-e-file guidelines, he said at the inauguration of paperless court, e-filing modules for the High Court and the State judiciary, and e-office in courts within the State.

Maintaining that e-filing of documents makes them more accessible to litigants and lawyers, he urged the State government to ensure necessary digital literacy for all. E-seva kendras, including at the village level, will help implement it. It is also important to incentivise litigants and the Bar to use digital platforms. In addition, the State must make e-filing of all litigations initiated by it mandatory, Justice Chandrachud said, adding that he had stopped using physical files ever since the Supreme Court went virtual from June 2020.

Speaking of the multiple benefits of e-files, he said court hearing would become more efficient, while records could be stored and transmitted easily. “It should not be treated as a stop-gap measure confined to the pandemic period. Initial concerns can be redressed by constant engagement with the Bar. Free training must be given to litigants,” he said. In addition, a mechanism will be developed for paperless courts, while the e-committee of the Supreme Court is making efforts to digitise existing cases.

Inaugurating the paperless court project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said digital solutions had become the norm post-pandemic. An e-office system is in place in the Government Secretariat, which helps the public track file movement, increasing efficiency and transparency. A process is also on to link all government offices, including village offices, with the e-office system. Over 500 online and app-based services have been readied to do away with queuing up at government offices and to ensure doorstep delivery of services. The Executive, Legislature, and the Judiciary imbibing technology to become more people-friendly could be the first in India, he said.

Linking prisons and courts through videoconferencing will ensure speedy justice to undertrials and further the rights of prisoners. The government is committed to filling vacancies in the judiciary, by setting up more courts. A total of 20 more courts are being constructed, Mr. Vijayan said.

Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court S. Manikumar said the e-office project would improve judicial productivity, while also ensuring justice delivery affordable, accessible, transparent and accountable. It will also ensure huge savings on manpower and natural resources. Six court rooms in the High Court have been transformed into digital court rooms, he added.

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