Revolutionary ‘e-court’ project to be launched Monday


New Delhi : The government is to launch an ambitious and revolutionary Rs.8.54 billion 'e-court' project Monday aimed at computerising the country's entire judicial process right from the trial courts to the Supreme Court.

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Re-christened the National e-Courts Project, it would "lead to complete demystification of the judicial process and ensure transparency, accountability and cost-effectiveness" in the field of judicial administration, a law ministry statement said Friday.

The project would be inaugurated by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at Vigyan Bhawan in the presence of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj and union Minister for Communication and Information Technology A. Raja besides several judges from the apex court, high courts and subordinate judiciary from all over the country.

The occasion would be marked by distribution of over 15,000 laptops to judges of trial courts.

The project, for which the law ministry has already allocated Rs.1.87 billion out of an earmarked outlay of Rs.4.42 billion for its first phase, is based on the report of E-Committee on National Policy and Technology in the Indian Judiciary.

The project, at the completion of its first phase within two years after the launch, envisages establishment of computer rooms and judicial service centres in all 2,500 court complexes in the country, besides establishing digital inter-connectivity between all courts from the block level to the Supreme Court.

By the end of its first phase, the project also aims at creating a well-structured database of all the judicial decisions with user-friendly facilities to retrieve them.

The project would achieve "digital archiving" of the Supreme Court and high courts, besides creating facility to lodge cases at the courts through Internet.

It would also have a comprehensive and integrated customised software for the entire judicial system with regional language support, the law ministry statement said.

By the end of the first phase, the project would ensure facilities for examination of crime victims and witnesses through video conferencing.

Video conferencing would put a stop to the system of transporting under-trial prisoners from jails to courts for presentation before judges.

The government also hopes to create a National Judicial Data Centre to provide litigation trends in the country.

Phase II of the project would be completed in the next two years which would make it possible to provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) coverage of judicial processes from filing to execution, and also of all administrative activities.

The third and final phase, which would be implemented in one year after the second phase, would lead to the creation of information gateways between courts and public agencies and departments, bringing about complete demystification of the judicial process in the country, the statement added.