Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Access To Justice for Marginalised People Of India

Of late, the Law Minister Mr. Veerappa Moily has been very active in suggesting judicial reforms in India. They are very good reforms and if implemented in a timely manner would drastically reforms the judicial system of India. Indian judicial system needs a complete overhaul.

Of late, Indian judicial system has become a play ground for men with long purses and poor and marganilised segments of India are not even aware what justice is all about. The Law Ministry is considering this aspect and trying to bring suitable reforms so that justice may be delivered to the poor at their doorsteps.

This is a very good initiative provided it is performed in a planned and holistic manner. Moily has already mooted an idea of mobile courts on trains. State legal service officials will travel in the special train that will function as a Lok Adalat and Gram Nyayalaya. Further, Moily has also been very active in releasing under trials that are undergoing trails for petty offences but over crowding the prisons. The proposed National Litigation Policy (NLP) would also bring suitable legal and judicial reforms in India.

However, there are grey areas as well. Till now most of the legal and judicial reforms proposed by Moily have remained as mere promises far from being actual implementation. Further, Moily is also shy in using information and communication technology (ICT) for legal and judicial reforms in India.

For instance, the failure of e-court project of India has ultimately resulted in its scrapping. This was a very crucial project that got sacrificed due to lack of accountability, planning, expertise and many more factors. Think about the benefits it could have produced for the dying legal and judicial system of India.

Take the mobile train courts scenario. A better result could have been achieved through e-courts by not even leaving the court or chamber of a judge or lawyer. The extra costs and manpower could be saved by a good e-court model.

The problem seems to be lack of expertise to establish and manage effective e-courts in India. There is just a single techno-legal e-courts training, research and consultancy Centre in the entire world. Fortunately, the same is an Indian centre and the same can be handy while inculcating techno-legal ICT skills among judges, lawyers, court staffs, etc.

Of course, appropriate training is required before the judges, lawyers, court staff, etc can actively use e-courts. Even that aspect has been taken care of by the online platform of Perry4Law Techno-Legal Base (PTLB). The judges, lawyers, etc can learn about important techno-legal fields like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, telecommunications laws, e-courts, etc even while sitting in their respective chambers. Further, training in the area of online dispute resolution (ODR) is also available. We hope Law Minister Moily would consider these initiatives while bringing suitable legal and judicial reforms in India.