E-Courts In India (2007)

The traditional legal system primarily relies upon litigation as a premier method of dispute resolution and the same equally applies to India as well. This dependence upon a single medium of dispute resolution has unnecessarily overburdened Indian courts. There are certain matters that can be effectively taken care of by “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanism” (ADRM). This ADRM consists of methods like Arbitration, Mediation, etc. These methods are not only effective but also economical and efficacious. They will go a long way in empowering people with right to speedy trial in India that is a Fundamental Right within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

With the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) both the traditional legal system as well as the ADRM got empowerment and strength. As a natural corollary the tool of ADRM also got a transformed counterpart in the form of “Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Mechanism (ODRM). The ultimate solution to the “backlog” problem in Indian courts is the optimum use of ODRM in India. The same may, however, face the jurisdictional issues arising within India as well as outside India. Although ODR in India has started gaining momentum yet there is lot to be done. If we analyse the culture of ADR in India then one fact is very clear. In India we have not yet given due importance to the ADRM, much less to ODRM. The e-governance plan of India is silent in this regard. This is one of the flaws of the ICT strategy of India that is not in conformity with the contemporary standards. The e-governance in India is not taking care of the ODR perspective and the same will be a fatal mistake by all counts. We do not have a base for Intellectual Property Rights and International Trade related disputes. Even the domain name dispute resolution in India is missing. Similarly, International Commercial Arbitration in India also needs a different outlook in the present circumstances. We need to capatilise “collective expertise” and an “ideal public-private partnership” base in India. The launch of PTLB as the premier authority for ADR and ODR in India would go a long way in transforming ADR into ODR in India. The initiative titled ICT HELPDESK and WTO will cover the International Trade segment. If India has to survive the increasing dispute resolution pressure then it must cover the journey from ADR to ODR as soon as possible.

Similarly, efforts must be undertaken for the establishment of electronic courts in India. The establishments of digital evidencing and techno-legal base[1] are absolute requirements in India. There is also a dire need of judicial reforms in India keeping in mind the requirements of ICT. The establishment of e-courts in India would be a good step in this direction. These mandates have been sufficiently indicated and suggested in the annual evaluation of Perry4Law titled ICT trends in India in 2006. We have to take care of both technological as well as legal issues associated with the use of ICT. Thus, a techno-legal base is the need of the hour. We have launched the first ever Techno-Legal Base in India that is known as Perry4Law’s Techno-Legal Base TM/SM * (PTLB TM/SM*). PTLB TM/SM* and ICT HELPDESK TM/SM* are coordinating various International and National initiatives that primarily rely upon ICT for their successful operation and existence. PTLB TM/SM* would develop and implement an Inter-Country teaching and research infrastructure in the legal field that would be capable of meeting the challenges posed by the ICT regime. It would try to improve the current legal education practices by adapting them as per the ICT mandates.[2]

The Government must change gears now as the speed of reforms is grossly inadequate. It is high time that the Government must establish a specialised institution as per the requirements of UNDP and European Union so that foreign aid and grants can be utilised appropriately and legally. We must have a suitable e-infrastructure that is capable of meeting the needs of contemporary society. Perry4Law’s famous Techno-Legal and ICT Segment PTLB TM/SM* will provide Techno-Legal and ICT service pertaining to Cyber Law, Cyber Forensics Cyber Security, Techno-Legal E-learning Services, Due Diligence Compliance, Techno-Legal Audit, E-commerce, E-governance, ADR and ODR, IPRs, International Trade etc. We would also provide a “legislative framework” that could be effective for meeting the requirements of e-courts in India and an ODR base in India. In fact Perry4Law is receiving tons of appreciation letters and requests for extending its Techno-Legal and ICT related expertise for the establishment of e-courts in foreign countries.[3] We hope that our initiatives would prove effective for providing a Techno-legal direction to Indian ICT strategy. Some of the International and National initiatives, collaborations and coordinating efforts of Perry4Law, PTLB TM/SM* and ICT HELPDESK TM/SM are as follow:

(a) E-governance and justice in India
(b) Online Dispute Resolution in India
(c) Judicial reforms in India through use of ICT
(d) Enforcing rule of justice through e-governance
(e) Dataquest-Changing the order
(f) E-judiciary and e-lawyering in India, etc.

Let us hope that the initiatives of e-judiciary segment in general and Perry4Law in particular would prove a good step in the right direction and that also at a time when we need it most.

[1] http://perry4law.blogspot.com/2006/06/need-of-techno-legal-compliance-in.html
[2] Praveen Dalal, “ Techno-Legal Education in India”, http://cyberlawindia.blogspot.com/2006/12/techno-legal-education-in-india.html
[3] One of the e-mails to Perry4Law reads like this “Recently, Brazilian congress has approved a law which adopts the use of ICT in judicial acts. This new law is very advanced and wishes to replace physical process for a total virtual one. I have many doubts about it and I really would like to share your ideas and to understand how India is adopting this technology for judicial purposes”.

Source: Electronic Courts In India.

E-Courts In India: An Essential Judicial Reform Ignored By NeGP And Digital India (2009)

Editorial: This article has been originally written in the year 2009 by Praveen Dalal. It has been updated from time to time with latest time stamp. However, it has not been updated since 2016 at original source and we would update it there soon. However, we have updated the date at this blog. 

E-Courts is a crucial project under both National E-Governance Plan (NeGP) and Digital India. E-Courts project has also faced similar treatment and outcomes under both Congress and BJP Governments. Nevertheless, E-Courts project was better managed by Congress Government than BJP Government for two reasons. Firstly, all developments regarding E-Courts have taken place so far because of Congress Government and BJP has not contributed anything in this regard. Secondly, unlike BJP Government, Congress never imposed Controversial projects like Aadhaar that has become the exploitation tool of BJP Government.

E-Courts project is still at the same stage where Congress left it in the year 2014. The second stage of E-Courts is supposed to take another 3 years coinciding with the term of BJP Government i.e. till 2019. Naturally Digital India has little to offer in this regard as we are still waiting for the establishment of “First E-Court of India” till January 2019. The same would not be established till the end of 2019 as BJP Government has not shown any “Political Will” and “Implementation Capabilities” in this regard in the past five years. 

Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Indian Judiciary and in Indian Courts needs rejuvenation. The successful use of e-governance for Indian e-judiciary model requires a techno-legal e-court framework. We need ICT Training and e-courts training for Indian Judicial System as soon as possible. Further, electronic courts in India must also be supported by active use of online dispute resolution (ODR) in India to reduce backlog of cases. Legal enablement of ICT systems in India is need of the hour.

Establishment of E-Courts in India is an important aspect of judicial and legal reforms in India. However, despite this pressing need India has been doing nothing in this regard except giving press statements since 2003. Till January 2019, we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court in India. E-Courts in India cannot be established till we have experts who can manage this ambitious e-governance pilot project. Similarly, we also need to train judges and lawyers regarding not only e-courts but also for laws like cyber law and telecommunication laws. India has to do much more than mere press statements and opening of e-courts on “papers only” if it really wishes to encash the benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for effective, speedier and constitutional justice delivery system. The ICT Trends of India of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) have proved that Indian e-governance initiatives like E-Courts, E-Bharat, etc have failed due to lack of proper training, management and insight.

The current litigation system of India is not only antique in nature but has become cumbersome and time consuming as well. The backlog of cases is increasing day by day affecting the outcome of various cases. There is an emergent need of judicial and legal reforms in India so that courts in India can meet the expectations of the 21st Century. This has to be done by maintaining a stance that preserves the courts reputation and supports the courts critical role in maintaining public confidence in the protection afforded to them by the law.

The public confidence in the Criminal Justice System of India is declining and the same has forced the Government of India (GOI) to bring this issue right back to the top of the political agenda. Its aim is to cut crimes by increasing the number of criminals brought to trial and reducing the time taken to complete the legal process.

However, if the courts have to keep in step and play their part in restoring public confidence in the legal system then they must find new ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. Information and Communication technology (ICT) can be a panacea for the dying judicial system of India. We can effectively use ICT for establishment of E-Courts in India so that E-Judiciary in India can be a reality.

However, the task is really difficult to achieve because of lack of expertise, techno-legal training and absence of time bound performance. Every year in the month of February, the tenure of E-Courts Committee is extended for another year. This shows there is a lack of Political Will to achieve the task as merely extending time for another year without performance report and accountability is just a pretext to avoid the ultimate accomplishment, i.e. establishment of E-Courts in India.

The fact remains that despite all glamorous conferences, catchy phrases and public announcements, we do not have even a single E-Court in India and there is not even a single case that has been filed, contested and finally adjudicated through an E-Court System in India till January 2019. Where those claimed E-Courts are and what cases they had adjudicated is still a big mystery.

It seems India is just making press statements years after years and courts after courts about establishment of E-Courts in India without actually establishing and operationalising them. The task of their establishment and operationalising cannot be accomplished till we honestly and dedicatedly try to achieve the same. Till now India is just adopting the half hearted efforts and evasive approach.

The establishment of E-Courts in India requires certain prerequisites. These are:

(1) E-Courts Policy: Setting Policy for various aspects of E-Courts is the first and foremost requirement. In the absence of a well defined and pre decided framework, no direction can be given to the E-Courts scheme of India.

(2) Connectivity: Creating an interconnected system across all court levels is an important aspect of E-courts. The District Courts in India must be connected with High Courts and Supreme Court for better, timely and effective disposal of cases.

(3) Simplicity And User Friendly: E-Court mechanism must be not only simple but also be user friendly. The litigants must find the e-Courts facilities in India very easy to adopt.

(4) Scope: In India we consider mere computerisation as establishment of E-Courts. In reality, E-Courts is much broader than mere computerisation and filing facilities.

(5) Authentication: Authentication plays an important role in fixing attribution and legal responsibility. There must be a “Technology Neutral Mechanism” to authenticate various stages of E-Courts usages.

(6) Integrity: E-Courts must ensure integration among court and justice systems.

(7) Security: Security of E-Courts Infrastructure and System is of paramount importance. A system must be put in place that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties

(8) Data Keeping: All the information regarding use of E-Courts facilities must be duly recorded and stored. These include maintaining proper records of e-file minute entries, notification/service, summons, warrants, bail orders, etc for ready and subsequent references.

(9) Payment Gateway: A secure, efficient and fully operational payment gateway must be established so that various payments and fees regarding court cases can be made online.

(10) Absence Of Monopoly: The E-Courts Project must not be given to a single vendor. Instead the E-Court Committee of India must adopt a multiple vendor approach.

In the opinion of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO), this list is just “Illustrative” and not exhaustive. Establishment of and maintaining the E-Courts Project in India requires a Techno-Legal approach including getting expertise of matters pertaining to Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics, Digital Evidencing, Prison Reforms, and many more aspects.

INDIAN E-COURTS PROJECT UPDATES OF 2019

India has limited E-Court Infrastructure and we are still waiting for the establishment of First E-Court of India till January 2019.

Source: Legal Enablement Of ICT Systems In India.

Online Legal Case Management System (OLCMS) Of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) (2014)

India has adopted the technology driven projects like Digital India and Internet of Things (IoT) (PDF). The aim of these projects is to use technology for providing better government services to citizens and residents of India. Areas like Healthcare, Education, Judicial services etc would be covered by these projects.

As far as Judicial services are concerned, India is already working in the direction of establishment of e-courts in India. However, till the month of December 2014 we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court of India. Similarly, use of online dispute resolution (ODR) in India is also missing as on date.

Perry4Law Organisation and its techno legal segments like Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB), Perry4Law Techno Legal ICT Training Centre (PTLITC) and Perry4Law Law Firm have been managing many techno legal initiatives. These include establishment and maintenance of full fledged e-courts and ODR systems and their corresponding online skills development and training requirements.

We have taken our initiative at the next level of development and implementation. For instance, we have been experimenting with the open source tools and software in the fields of e-courts and ODR. We have launched a discussion forum titled Online Dispute Resolution Mechanism (ODRM) of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) that would act as an information and participation portal for ODR purposes in India and abroad. Similarly, an Online Case Management System (OCMS) of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has also been explored to see possibilities in the ODR field.

Regarding e-courts as well we have launched an initiative titled Online Legal Case Management System (OLCMS) of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO). It is intended to be a world scale project that would cater the needs and requirements of both national and international stakeholders. OLCMS of P4LO for E-Courts in India and worldwide is also unique in the sense that it is first techno legal initiative of its type in India and worldwide.

OLCMS of P4LO for E-Courts is not the end product but is the starting point of a much larger techno legal initiative in the field of global e-courts services by Perry4Law Organisation. We intend to use our e-courts projects to ensure access to justice for marginalised people in India and other jurisdictions. Dedicated websites have been launched by us to use E-Courts 4 Justice (EC4J) at global scale. Interested stakeholders can know more about us at various social media platforms like EC4J.

We would come up with more details about the EC4J and OLCMS projects of Perry4Law Organisation in our subsequent post. Please bookmark this blog for updates in this regard if you are interested in these projects of P4LO.

Source: OLCMS.