Use of technology in courts likely to continue after Covid-19 lockdown

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An understanding to instituionalise technology in court was reached at an interaction Supreme Court E-Committee head Justice DY Chandrachud had with the Chairpersons of the Computer Committees of High Courts on Friday.

The computer committees of the Supreme Court and high courts have agreed to institutionalise the technology currently being employed in view of Covid-19 outbreak even after the lockdown.

An understanding in this regard was reached at an interaction Supreme Court E-Committee head Justice DY Chandrachud had with the Chairpersons of the Computer Committees of High Courts on Friday.

During the interaction organised to review the measures taken for hearing urgent petitions during the lockdown, the chairpersons shared with the participants the steps taken and the challenges faced in their states, said a Bar & Bench report.

The report quoted Justice Chandrachud as informing the participants about an e-filing module which is in an advanced stage of development in the Supreme Court. An e-filing module has been developed for trial courts. It was agreed that E-filing in such modes as may be practicable may be used during the period of lockdown.

During the meeting, Justice Chandrachud also suggested that the High Courts may share the utilities which have been developed in their courts for being deployed wherever they are found to be useful.

Justice Chandrachud also highlighted that a software patch has been developed for automatic posting of dates of hearing of cases in CIS 3.2, with a facility of bulk adjournment of cases during the lockdown and for sending SMSs to litigants and lawyers about the next dates. This may be immediately deployed to obviate visits by litigants and lawyers to the courts during this period.

The question of live streaming of proceedings held by video conferencing was also discussed but it was decided to host the recordings on the court websites the next day in view of the technical issues concerning bandwidth and facilities of hosting the proceedings on dedicated servers.

Though software has been provided to all states by the NIC, it was noticed that virtual courts were functioning only in a few states. The urgent need to start virtual courts, not only for traffic challans but also for promptly dealing with summary violations was emphasized.

Justice Chandrachud suggested that that the High Courts may use the unutilised funds from Phase II of the E-courts project for meeting immediate needs while observing financial norms. He assured that demands for funds or software will be promptly processed by the E-committee and submitted to the Department of Justice.

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