The present article has been written by Nayancy. She is a second year law student in Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat.
The modern world is characterized by the vast sprad and usage of ‘technology’. Now, the whole modern world is driven by technology. It serves humankind by making our tasks simpler and easier and solving other problems. Human is totally dependent upon it and it is greatest boon in the modern era. It has touched each and every sector and horizon of the new world. From education to healthcare, transport to trade, no sector in untouched by it. The focus of our study, the legal sector also, now comes under its umbrella.
Earlier, the legal profession was characterized by loads of documentation and paperwork. Simple tasks were made complex, troublesome and time taking. It is very recently that law included technology in its domain and saw tremendous growth and modernization. Tasks are made simpler, quicker and user-friendly.
The heart of the legal profession, the judiciary also welcomed it with open hands. Especially during the COVID period, the need of technological developments was realized and the judiciary started using many tech based facilities. Before this, courts faced drawbacks like massive backlog of cases, heavy documentation, high number of vacancies, opaque system of working, slow and tedious working process. However, now much of the issues were addressed and Indian judiciary entered a new technological phase.
Earlier, one of the major issues was that every task had to be done physically through manual labor. This required time and huge amount of effort. Now, technology has made things simpler. Even smallest task like filing a case can be done digitally. The different digital services provided by courts can be listed as below-
- E-filing- Legal documents may be filed electronically using an e-Filing system. Cases can be filed electronically before High Courts and District Courts that have e-Filing systems in place. The goal of the introduction of e-Filing is to encourage paperless filing while reducing time and expense by using technology solutions to submit cases before Indian courts.
- Virtual courts- Not only the initial simpler tasks but the whole court system has gone virtual. The idea behind virtual courts is to have disputes decided without the need for a plaintiff or attorney to physically appear in court. The idea has been developed in order to effectively use court resources and give litigants a way to resolve minor disagreements. A judge can preside over a virtual electronic court system that operates around-the-clock and may have state-wide authority. For effective adjudication and resolution, neither the litigant nor the judge would need to travel to a court. Only electronic means of communication would be used, and both the sentencing process and any subsequent fine or reparation payments would be made online. These courts may be utilized to handle instances where the accused may proactively admit guilt or the defendant may proactively comply with the case after receiving the summons in electronic form. After the fine is paid, such matters may be regarded as resolved.
- E- Courts Fee Payment- Services like e-courts fee payment which enables payment of fine, penalty, judicial deposits and other court fee to be paid digital have been started
- E-Seva Kendra- E-Seva Kendra which help litigants to know the status of their case and obtain other useful information like judgments and orders. For litigants and attorneys, e-Seva Kendras will initially offer the following services:-
- Answering questions regarding the status of the case, the hearing date, and other information.
- Online applications for certified copies should be made easier.
- Provide assistance with petition e-filing, including scanning paper petitions, attaching eSignatures, uploading them to CIS, and generating filing numbers.
- To aid with e-Stamp paper/ePayment purchases made online.
- To facilitate obtaining a digital signature based on an Aadhaar.
- Encourage people to download the eCourts mobile app for Android and iOS by promoting it.
- Assist in scheduling eMulakat appointments for visiting family members who are incarcerated.
- Answering questions regarding judges who are absent.
- Help people understand how to access free legal services from the Supreme Court Legal Service Committee, High Court Legal Service Committee, and District Legal Service Authority.
- Make it easier to resolve traffic tickets in virtual courts and to electronically compound traffic tickets and other minor offences.
- Describing how to set up and conduct a video conference court session.
- Send soft copies of court orders and judgments by WhatsApp, email, or any other available method.
- District court portal- A centralized platform that connects visitors to each District Court website in the nation. This portal serves as the entry point to 688 District Court websites and provides access to information for each of them.
The individual websites display a list of judicial officers employed in a District, a list of judges on leave, important recruitment circulars, a list of courts and police station jurisdictions, and lists of relevant recruitment announcements. On this portal, you can also find pertinent statistics and information on district court services such case status, court orders, and cause lists. Since the information is available from anywhere, going to court buildings is unnecessary, which reduces foot traffic and, in turn, lessens the strain on the physical infrastructure of courts.
- E-courts portal- a centralized portal offering access to all the websites for e-Court services. Websites like High Courts Services NJDG, district court services NJDG, district court of India, etc. can be accessed.
- National Judicial Data Grid- NJDG provides the total number of cases filed, resolved, and still pending in every court in the nation. Every day, the relevant courts update these figures. Both the number of cases filed and those still pending are displayed on the website. The visitor has access to data right down to a specific case. The pending cases split between the civil and criminal jurisdictions can be further divided into age-based groups, such as cases older than ten years, cases older than five to ten years, etc. The public can access and use the pendency data at the national, state, and district levels.
- High Court Services- On this page, you can access a central library of facts and figures about high courts. The website has information on 46, 37,128 (4.6 million) active cases.
Apart from these services, other services like e-court services mobile app, Touch Screen Kiosks, automated email, and SMS pull are provided.
These services have transformed the India judicial system and have brought the Indian judiciary with the current pace. They have proved to be a boon as much of the old problems have been resolved and the justice system could continue running even n the hard times of COVID. The uneven access to technology and the primitive digital knowledge can act as impediments in this digital justice system. However, the initial steps towards transforming the Indian judicial system must not be stopped as they are the initial steps towards transforming India.
Go through various legal tech companies listed on our page.