The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Infotech revolution for courts
- Computers & Net to link judiciary in two years

New Delhi, Oct. 25: A high court will no longer have to wait seven years — as it did in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case — to find out if a trial judge’s verdict was “perverse”.

Every court in the country will be able to watch the day-to-day functioning of every lower court, ensuring speedier and more transparent justice, when the Centre’s IT revolution for the judicial system takes shape in two years.

Under the Rs 460-crore project that kicks off in January, computers and the Internet will link all the 13,000 courts in the country, from the Supreme Court to tehsil courts.

The system will empower the harassed litigant and “drastically cut short” delays, explained Justice G.C. Bharukha, chairman of the law and justice ministry’s e-committee.

A court’s cause list (list of cases to be heard) as well as notices will be generated entirely by computer and posted on its website and notice board.

“At present, both the cause list and court notices are rigged through money power,” Bharukha said, but the new transparency will make such queue-jumping impossible. Judgments, too, will be put on the website the day they are passed.

Nor will the unscrupulous among lawyers or lower court officials be able to confuse litigants. Every bit of information relating to their cases — right up to the latest position — will be updated daily on the Web. Also, some 2,500 “judicial service centres” will provide litigants the same information.

“Laptops will be given to approximately 15,000 judges or judicial officers across the country while each tehsil-level court will get four computers to digitalise and bring all the information on the Net,” Bharukha said.

“One of our main objectives is to dispose of all the civil cases that are more than two years old. We are also devising methods to speed up criminal trials.”

“There are also plans to link all the district-level jails with the courts, allowing the trial of dangerous criminals and dons from their cells through video-conferencing,” a law ministry official said.

In the final stages, everything relating to court proceedings, including judges’ signatures, is to be digitalised.

“Every judge, at least till district court level, will be given a special code to put his signature on the judgment and court proceedings. This will get rid of a lot of delay,” an information and technology ministry official said.

The project has been cleared by the finance ministry’s expenditure committee and the law, home and IT ministries, and awaits the final cabinet nod. The Centre will bear the entire project cost.

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