Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bail Orders Would Now Be Sent Through E-Mail

While use of information and communication technology (ICT) for judicial purposes has got no attention of executive yet judiciary in India has taken a stand. After Supreme Court of India asked its registry to send legal notices through e-mail, the Delhi High Court has taken it a step further.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna has ensured early release of undertrials and accused who are granted bail by directing all Delhi courts as well as its own officials to e-mail a copy of bail orders to Tihar jail authorities within 24 hours of being pronounced. This is a great step in the right direction.

While the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is on book since then, this is the first prison and judicial reform that has been undertaken in this regard using ICT, besides use of video conferencing.

“Right to a speedy trial is contained in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It mandates a speedier and timely disposal of a case. Presently, India is facing a mammoth backlog of cases that can be reduced drastically by use of ICT and e-courts,” said Praveen Dalal, techno-legal ICT specialist, and a practicing lawyer at the Supreme Court. Dalal is also a managing partner with Perry4Law.

Although the national e-governance plan (NEGP) of India has been launched, it has largely remained a failure to bring legal enablement of ICT systems in India. Till the month of February 2011 we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court in India. India is confusing computerisation with e-courts and by simply putting some hardware and software, it is claiming to have established e-courts in India.

The efforts for the establishment of e-courts in India are not sufficient and needs rejuvenation. This is happening because the legislature and executive are not versed with the litigation and the legal fraternity is never consulted while making Techno-Legal Laws,” said Dalal.

The primary reason for this failure can be attributed to lack of techno legal expertise to implement an ambitious e-court project of India. However, a committed mind can bring much faster and better legal and judicial reforms in India, as has been shown by the Bench of Delhi High Court.