Saturday, January 8, 2011

Legal Framework For Information Society In India

One of the most challenging tasks for India is to provide legal framework for information society. It is also known as legal enablement of ICT systems in India. The main component of this process is that legal and judicial systems are customised in line with information and communication technology (ICT).

The examples of such process include electronic courts (E-courts), online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanism, enacting good cyber law, enacting good laws regarding cyber forensics, etc.

In the Indian context, a significant growth has already been achieved regarding computerisation of traditional courts and their procedures. Many crucial aspects regarding Indian litigation like case list, case status, certified copies, etc are available online. This has also considerable reduced the backlog of cases in India.

However, despite this growth India has failed on almost all other fronts. For instance, till January 2011 we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court in India. We do not have any ODR mechanism in India, we have an outdated and criminal friendly cyber law in the form of information technology act, 2000 that requires urgent amendments, we have no laws regarding cyber forensics in India, etc. In short, legal enablement of ICT systems in India has failed so far.

A recent development regarding legal and judicial reforms pertains to national litigation policy of India (NLPI). Law Minister Veerappa Moily has launched this policy and very soon the same may be finalised. However, NLPI also failed to consider legal enablement of ICT systems in India properly. It failed to address the requirements of e-courts and ODR mechanisms.

We at Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have publically provided our suggestions in this regard especially regarding e-courts and ODR. Hopefully, these suggestions would be incorporated in the final NLPI. After all legal enablement of ICT systems is an essential part of legal and judicial reforms of India and it cannot be ignored for long.