E-committee of the Supreme court of India has proposed an ‘E-Court project’ under the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005”. Its aim to bring about a change in the Indian Judiciary by introducing ICT in the functioning of the courts.
Implementation of the program across all the courts in the country is being supervised and sponsored by the Department of Justice under Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India.
The Project is an initiative aiming to achieve following:
- To successfully deliver citizen centric services in a given frame of time.
- To establish Decision support system in the courts that provides comprehensive data to judges in order to make effective decisions.
- To create a transparent system where stakeholders can seek relevant information.
- To level up the quality and quantity of the judicial services by making the procedure reachable, inexpensive, responsible, faithful and lucid.
COMPOSITION OF THE E-COMMITTE:
The committee body is organized by the Government of India which includes:
- Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India as Patron-in-Chief of the e-committee.
- Hon’ble Judge In charge
- Regular Members:
- Member (Processes) – Responsible for managing of working of the court, office administration, arranging meetings, computerization of documents, co-ordination among members of the committee and representing at Department of Justice.
- Member (Project Management): it takes care of Project Management Unit of the e-committee, collect data to prepare progress report of the committee. It plays an important role of mediator between DoJ and PMU.
- Member (Human Resource): Its duty is to facilitate human resource management, organize ICT training and capacity building programs for Judicial officers and Court officials, develop teaching content, implementing behavioral and mentality change drills.
- Member (Systems): It is concerned with management of operating system and application software customization, selection of proposals for Hardware/LAN/WAN infrastructure and its designs and specifications.
Function of High Courts: It plays a very important role as an Implementing Agency. High Court ensures application of the project is done smoothly and on time as per Litigant’s Charter. It has been given power to interpret and resolve issues related to the implementation of the project. For this purpose, it has formed following institutional structure:
- HIGH COURT COMPUTER COMMITTEE (HCCC): To supervise implementation of e-Project mechanisms, Committee of two judges has been appointed. It also makes suggestions on policy actions, reformation of organization for ICT implementation in consultation with E-Committee. It signifies actual decentralization in form of participation of subordinate institutions
- CENTRAL PROJECT COORDINATIOR (CPC): The position is allotted by Chief Justice of India, to a person of the rank of District Judge or Senior Civil Judge along with an assisting staff. He synchronizes between sellers and E-Committee and is fully devoted to this job. It also operates PPMS portal and update information on weekly basis. He is also accountable for maintaining relationship between CIS Periphery Development Team and High Court NIC Coordinator for periphery expansion and its appropriate unification with CIS Core.
- DISTRICT COURT COMPUTER COMMITTEE (DCCC): It involves one Senior Additional District Judge and two Senior Civil Judges/ one Senior Civil Judge and System Administrator qualified under Phase I of the Project. The committee under Principal District Judge execute working of the project at district level and align with Centra Project Coordinator of the High Court. It carries out all the tasks at District and Taluka/Tehsil/Sub-division levels.
- NODAL OFFICER FOR EVERY COURT COMPLEX – A Judicial officer, well versed in ICT domain is allocated in every Court Complex. He/ She will be responsible for automation of the Courts and act as a conveyer of the task details to CPC of the e-Courts Project, High Court.
The project has been put into action in different phases, out of which two have been launched while third one is still under construction.
- It began at district level in 2007 when all the court buildings of District and Talukas were prepared with Computer Server Rooms and Judicial Service Centre.
- LAN and Case Information Software were installed to make essential data available to litigants and lawyers.
- After getting trained under Change Management, District court started websites for the ease of the different stakeholders.
- The process of training was held in series. As first, CIS Master Trainers trained District System Administrators while DSA educated other court staff.
- This helped in completing data entry of all pending cases.
- The project was accomplished on 30th March 2015.
- The Plan got approved on 8th January 2014 by Chief Justice of India and was passed by Government of India on 4th August 2015.
- It included remaining work of phase II, addition of Hardware with (1+3) systems in every court and installation of (2+6) systems in each court room of newly build court complexes.
- It is mutual participation of e-Committee, Department of Justice, NIC, DietY and Ministry of finance.
- High Court act as Implementing agency, supervising the computerization of office of District Legal Services authority, Taluka Legal Services Committee, the National and State Judicial Academies.
- It has also put into service of Free and Open Source Solutions (FOSS) along with Core-Periphery model of Case Information Software which unifies National Core and develop periphery as per the requirement of each Court.
- Pune is made the Center for Software Development and related applications.
- Jails are connected to Court Complexes through Video Conference for various purposes like doing routine remands, producing under trial prisoners, recording and collecting sensitive evidences.
- Apart from computerization, it also emphasized upon building Digital Library Management for expanding Judicial Knowledge Management.
- All the information is made available in local languages to litigants and lawyers.
- Use of mobile applications, SMS and emails are being used to distribute information.
- E-Payment Gateways for fees and fines, online certified copies of documents are provided.
- E-court portal – ecourts.gov.in was launched by Chief Justice of India.
- It is being used by more than 2852 districts and taluka Court Complexes to provide case status, judgements etc.
- Information of more than & crore pending and 3.3 crore judgements are uploaded there.
- NJDG has become data warehouse for Judicial Management.
- This helps in better policy making by providing pattern and impact analysis of governmental factors affecting law, jurisdiction, amendments and recruitment in judicial sphere.