Will e-courts be the norm?

CIOL Bureau
New Update

The Indian legal system has a number of pending cases. There are a lot of citizens clamouring for justice and a hue and cry has been raised to increase the number of benches in High Courts in different states. As per tradition, nothing concrete has happened so far, but Justice BN Kirpal, Chief Justice of India claims that e-courts will be established in India very soon. He believes that once e-courts were established, additional benches of the High Courts would not be required. The facility would be first set up in Supreme Court and later be extended to High Courts, he added. Justice Kirpal said that the search for software experts for this had begun and hopefully the facility would be provided in the Supreme Court in the coming few months from the funds provided by the Government.

Describing e-courts as a revolutionary step in the judiciary, he said that any person from any part of the country would be able to file a case and submit affidavits. The litigants would not be required to travel long distances to visit High Courts. Neither would they have to pay the lawyers’ fee, he added. Justice Kirpal said that through the facility, videoconferencing was also proposed at a later date.

He, however, declined to comment on the laws being formulated by the Government of India in the light of the Supreme Court instructions to the Election Commission concerning criminal and educational records of the candidates contesting elections. He supported the idea of an all India judicial services on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service and said the issue would be taken up in the convention of the chief justices next September.

Inaugurating the teaching block at the National Law Institute, Justice Kirpal said that a proposal to transfer cases older than five years to Lok Adalats was also under consideration. He said that by introducing amendments in the Judicial Services Act, attempts would be made to resolve the cases through mediation and mutual agreement between the parties. Expressing concern over the number of cases pending in lower courts, Justice Kirpal said Lok Adalats could play a pivotal role in solving the cases. He said 95 percent of the cases could be solved by mediation or mutual agreement by Lok Adalats.

He said that despite all efforts, the number of pending cases was still over two crore. Justice Kirpal also announced that the fifth-year students of National Law Institutes would be appointed at the Supreme Court for lordship at the stipend of Rs 7,000. These students would help the judges of the apex court in the cases and other judicial activities. However, such students would not be allowed to practice in the Supreme Court as lawyers for a fixed time period.

He said that judiciary was the strength of democracy, which was dependent on the young generation. He appreciated the efforts by Chief Minister Digvijay Singh who had been helping with the commercial development of legal education. It was agreed that law students must be taught the local laws as well. Digvijay Singh said the government was contemplating giving rights to district Collectors and divisional Commissioners to decide cases involving amounts up to Rs 20,000, Rs 50,000, and Rs one lakh.

If this move to introduce e-courts becomes reality, those generation long disputes and other settlements will finally be laid to rest.