Accessing justice online

  • IASbaba
  • April 14, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Accessing justice online

Due to COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdown to courts, citizens’ access to justice has been severely restricted

However, the root problem is the inability of the conventional court system to deliver timely justice. 

Do You Know?

  • As of Nov 2019, 43.55 lakh cases were pending in High court and 58,669 cases were pending in the Supreme Court
  • At the district and subordinate court levels, the number of pending cases stand at a 3.14 crore (as of Nov 2019)
  • Nearly 40% of the sanctioned judge strength in Higher Courts is pending (2019)

Consequences of Judicial delay in resolving cases

  • Justice denied is equivalent to justice denied
  • Justice will be accessible only to rich as they can afford to withstand the lengthy process
  • Provides scope for emergence of cheaper judicial avenues like Khap Panchayats
  • Erosion of Public trust on Judiciary thus threatening Democratic values

However, technology now provides us an opportunity to meet the challenge.

Case Study of Kerala High Court

  • On March 30, 2020, it created history by not only conducting proceedings through video conferencing but also live streaming the proceedings.
  • The judges conducted the hearing from their homes and concerned law officers also participated in the proceedings from their respective offices.

A blueprint for e-courts

  • Establishment of task force consisting of judges, technologists, court administrators, skill developers and system analysts- 
  • Objective of Taskforce: To draw up a blueprint for institutionalising online access to justice.
  • Responsibilities of taskforce
    • Establishing hardware, software and IT systems for courts
    • Establishing appropriate e-filing systems and procedures
    • Skill training of involved stakeholders
    • Examining application of artificial intelligence benefiting from the data base generated through e-courts projects
  • The experience of Kerala High Court can be leveraged to institutionalise the system

Way Ahead:

  • Mission mode implementation of e-courts model across the country
  • Awareness among citizens about welfare schemes and their rights which can hold governments accountable
  • Effective implementation of Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987 

Connecting the dots:

  • National Judicial Data Grid
  • National Judicial Appointments Commission – Why SC struck it down?

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