NEW DELHI: Filing cases will now become much easier as litigants and registered advocates will be able to do so without even going to court.
The facility called e-filing software, that was until now available only in the Supreme Court and at four high courts, will soon be extended to all district and high courts of India. This facility for countrywide e-filing of cases was announced recently by the law ministry’s justice department and the e-committee of the Supreme Court.
The hi-tech software also has the facility to e-sign uploaded documents. So, litigants and advocates will no longer have to spend hours in court to get certified copies of court orders. The system is expected to make the procedure of case filing transparent and manipulation free. The software will also operate as an online gateway for payment of court fee and process fee.
There are 24 high courts and around 600 district courts in the country. But the option of e-filing is currently available only in high courts of Delhi, Bombay, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Punjab and Haryana.
Besides e-filing, the government and the judiciary are also making full use of technology to send SMSes and e-mails to litigants and advocates about progress made in the case—such as information about next date of hearing, adjournment, summons etc. This was revealed in a meeting conducted last week between senior officials of the law ministry and SC’s e-committee comprising of judges of the apex court. According to the ministry, nearly 40 lakh such mails have been sent to litigants and lawyers.
An SMS push service has also been started by the ministry as part of the second phase of its e-courts project where litigants from rural areas without internet connectivity can send unique case number to 9766899899 and obtain case status.
The government has allocated `1,670 crore for the implementation of the phase two of the e-courts project, which includes complete automation of workflow management in all courts. This comprises of electronic movements of records from trial courts to appeal courts, installation of video-conferencing facility and recording of witness through video conferencing, and connecting all courts in the country to the National Judicial Data Grid, according to y officials.
At the meeting, justice department secretary Alok Srivastava said the specific targets set under the project include computerisation of all the 20,400 courts across the country; WAN and cloud connectivity in 3,500 court complexes; full installation and use of video-conferencing facility at 3,000 court complexes and 1,150 prisons.