E-court pilots

Paperless courts may be a reality soon, with attempts being made to extend e-filing and e-summons facility to all district and subordinate courts where electronic filing of cases and serving of summons through e-mails will be mandatory.

Pilot projects have been initiated by the high courts of Delhi and Bombay at the city civil courts in Mumbai and the Tis Hazari courts in Delhi, where it will be compulsory for e-filing of cases and serving of e-summons. So far, courts across the country, including the higher judiciary, follow the archaic process of filing cases through hard copies and serving of summons by hand through the court staff. The matter of e-filing and e-summons was discussed recently at a meeting convened by the law ministry.

The HCs have taken steps to amend the rules to permit electronic serving of summons. “The amended rules are currently pending with the rules committee (of the high court) for approval,“ the registrar general of the Bombay HC informed the government, while stating that the HC will start the process of esummons within two months.

Simplification of court procedures that reduce pendency of cases is one of the important aspects of the ongoing second phase of the e-courts project being implemented by the SC. A member of the SC e-committee told the Centre that the initiative has been extended to district courts. The initiative will help judiciary make courts paperless at district level, which have maximum pendency of cases.

Of about 3.15 crore cases pending in courts, more than 2.54 crore cases are pending in district and subordinate courts. The government has provided laptops to more than 14,300 judicial officers as part of its e-courts project to make the task easier. Each court in the country will be upgraded with technology by providing them with eight computers in place of four they have.

Besides setting up information kiosks at each of these courts, the Centre has also set up Judicial Service Centres which “serve as a single window for filing petitions and applications by litigants lawyers as also obtaining information on ongoing cases“.

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