Tuesday, February 22, 2011

E-Courts In India Still A Dream

Indian courts are suffering from many drawbacks. These include lack of infrastructure, inadequate strength of judges to handle growing cases, increasing backlog of cases, inadequate use of information and communication technology (ICT) for judicial purposes in India, etc.

Some very good computerisation initiatives were undertaken by Indian government and Supreme Court of India in the past. However, none of them are even closer to the establishment of e-courts in India. Naturally, we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court of India.

On the other hand, it is clear that will of selective few individuals can also bring much needed legal and judicial reforms in India. For instance, 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 how legal and judicial reforms are undertaken.

The major obstacle before the successful completion of e-courts project of India is that the project is just an “institutional effort” on behalf of Supreme Court of India. For some strange reasons expertise of techno legal institutions and experts has still not been requested by the e-court project of India.

At the institutional level, e-court project is bound to fails as there is no techno legal expertise present there. This is the reason why despite the national e-governance plan (NEGP) of India being launched, it has largely remained a failure to bring legal enablement of ICT systems in India.

India has a single techno legal e-courts research, training and consultancy centre that is managed by exclusive techno legal firm of India Perry4Law. The e-court centre is managed by the premier techno legal segment of Perry4Law known as Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB).

India needs more such techno legal e-courts centers so that e-court project of India may be successful. Till now the e-court centre of PTLB is not extending its expertise to the e-courts project of India.

Hopefully, Ministry of Law and Justice would consider taking techno legal services of PTLB and similar institutions so that e-courts may see the light of the day.