Saturday, June 25, 2011

E-Courts Project Of India

Electronic court in India (e-courts in India) is an attempt of Indian government to utilise information and communication technology (ICT) for effective justice administration in India. E-courts project of India is a part and parcel of the national e-governance plan of India (NEGP) and is implemented as a mission mode project of NEGP.

E-courts were first conceived in the year 2003 where it was declared that e-courts would be established in India till the end of year 2003. However, even after passing of 8 years of that deadline, we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court in India. Till the writing of this article, India does not have even a single e-court.

An e-court is different from computerised court. In the case of e-court everything is done in an “online environment” through the use of Internet and other ICT technologies whereas a computerised court is nothing more than a court having computers and basic level hardware and software.

E-courts essentially involve use of ICT from the stage of dispute to its final adjudication. Everything pertaining to a dispute happens in cyberspace and the parties to the disputes, lawyers, judges, evidence production and analysis, etc all happens through use of ICT.

India has still not achieved this “capacity building” and all it has done in the name of e-courts is computerisation of some traditional clerical work. This is the reason why techno legal experts of India have expressed that we have no e-courts in India and this is also the truth.

India has to shift to the next stage of establishment of e-courts. The computerisation phase is long over and now we must concentrate upon “e-courts capacity development” aspect that is still missing. We have to ensure e-courts related skills development in India that is presently missing.

At Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we are managing the exclusive techno legal e-courts research, education and training centre. It has been providing its suggestions for long and we hope these suggestions would help India in achieving the next stage of e-courts project of India.

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