Saturday, May 15, 2010

Where Are E-Courts Of India?

I have been reading a lot about the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for quick dispensation of justice. Though ICT can be used in numerous ways to increase efficiency of courts all over world, yet I am confining myself to a single, perhaps the most crucial, aspect of the same. The same pertains to establishment of electronic courts in India (e-courts in India).

Although the concept was initially discussed in India in the year 2003 yet till now we are not clear what exactly an e-court is. Whether for ignorance or deliberate design both the government of India and judiciary in India are portraying a totally wrong picture about establishment of e-courts in India. For instance, initially the Gujarat State claimed that they established the first e-court of India and subsequently New Delhi declared that it has established the first ever e-court of India.

The bigger question is who is telling the truth and who is ignorant? I think the real answer lies in the misunderstanding among the stakeholders. The real problem is that India is deliberately not willing to understand the difference between a computerised court and an e-court. While India has done a good job at the front of establishment of computerised courts yet when it comes to e-courts it failed absolutely to establish even a single one.

India must understand that e-courts are much more that mere connectivity and computerisation of traditional courts. The moment e-filing, presentation, contest and adjudication of the cases in an online environment would start; India would surely be capable of establishing e-courts.

It would be a good idea to engage world renowned experts of the field for establishment of e-courts in India. Till now India has been extending the term of e-court committee year after year with virtually no results.

If this is the vision of Law Minister Mr. Veerappa Moily for legal and judicial reforms in India, I am sorry to say that not only it is faulty but also devoid of any merits. It would not bring any results except wastage of public money.