Monday 11 April 2011

E-Courts In India

An electronic court (e-courts) is the process where the traditional courts are made more effective and speedier through the use of information and communication technology (ICT). From filing of the case to its final adjudication, all is done in an online environment.

E-courts are different from computerised courts that merely computerise few traditional litigation systems, says Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India. For instance, if cases are filed on compact disks (CDs) instead of in paper based file format, it does not make it a part of e-courts process. It is merely a computerisation process as one has to still approach the court premises in order to deliver the CDs or other electronic media, explains Dalal.

Till the month of April 2011, we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court of India. Although some computerisation initiatives have been undertaken in India yet none of them either independently or collectively are sufficient to establish even a single e-court in India. The truth is that e-courts in India are still an unfulfilled dream.

E-courts project of India has not been able to be successfully transformed into a judicial reform initiative. At the institutional level, e-court project is bound to fails as there is no techno legal expertise present there. This is the reason why despite the national e-governance plan (NEGP) of India being launched, it has largely remained a failure to bring legal enablement of ICT systems in India.

For instance, India has a single techno legal e-courts research, training and consultancy centre that is managed by Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB). India needs more such techno legal e-courts centers so that e-court project of India may be successful.

Till now the e-court centre of PTLB is not extending its expertise to the e-courts project of India.Hopefully, Supreme Court of India and Ministry of Law and Justice would consider taking techno legal services of PTLB and similar institutions so that e-courts may see the light of the day.