The Union Law Ministry is in the process of digitising about 14,289 courts under its E-courts Mission Mode Project. After the digitisation, these courts will be equipped with computer hardware, local area network (LAN) and a standard application software.
Being designed to fast-track court cases, till date about 488 district court complexes has been equipped this facility. The digitisation would also mean the courts would be connected to the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), which would allow real-time tracking of cases. Besides this NJDG cuts down case time by speeding up the process of transcribing a case.
Apart from speeding up justice, the digitisation would also help track the justice delivery pattern in India’s lower courts – like ascertaining the demography of the petitioners, the percentage of pending cases in the last decade and disposal of cases in a month per court.
As a result of the potential it offers, NJDG has found mention in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2018 report. As per the report, NJDG has enabled the generation of case management reports on local courts, thereby making it easier to enforce contracts.
Beside the above move, there have been other of instances of digitisation in the Indian Judiciary. In October last year, it was reported that as per Justice Madan B Lokur all the nations’ High Courts would be digitised come the end of 2017. After becoming live on the NJDG grid, the next development on the horizon would be e-filing of cases. The other digitisation initiatives in this regards included the setting up of an automatic e-mail information system and the introduction of mobile based applications.
The Supreme Court too has embraced modernity in this regard. As reported in January last year, the Supreme Court had digitised about 1.5 crore pages of legal documents like civil appeal records ranging from the pre-Independence period till 2002. This digitisation was enabled thanks to the conception of a new assembly line to ensure the scanning of about 50,000 documents per day.