NEW DELHI: Even as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ continue being buzzwords for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the eCourts project is moving at a snail’s pace with High Courts failing to utilise funds.
According to government data, only 35 per cent of the sanctioned funds of over Rs 846 crore were utilised for the project.
While launching the second phase of eCourts project aimed at computerising district and subordinate courts in 2015, Rs 1,670 crore was released by the government. According to data available till December 31, 2017, High Courts in 24 states have collectively have utilised only Rs 295.53 crore. Some courts utilised less than five per cent of the funds.
Delhi High Court, which was allotted Rs 12.51crore, utilised only Rs 4.52 crore for its modernisation, while Allahabad High Court spent Rs 46.59 crore out of the Rs 72.59 crore, followed by Bombay High Court, which used Rs 25.54 crore out of Rs 111.90 crore allocated. High Courts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh collectively managed to spend Rs 24.59 of the total Rs 62.15 crore.
A committee headed by Justice Madan B Lokur of the Supreme Court is looking at the digitisation of district and subordinate courts. The project envisages deployment of hardware, software and networking to assist the courts in streamlining their day-to-day workings. Key functions such as case filing, allocation, registration, case work-flow, orders and judgments will be information and communication technology-enabled. Cause lists, case-status, orders, and judgments will be made available on the web.
Computers which were installed in courts of every SC judge last year are lying unused. On the other hand, despite being monitored centrally, many district courts and High Courts don’t upload court orders online daily, thus defeating the whole purpose behind the project.