Indian judicial system after Covid 19

Present scenario of Indian judiciary

Indian Judiciary is well-equipped with modern information technology. Since the last ten years every subordinate court has had facilities of online records. Courtrooms have been provided display boards for showing witness statements as being recorded by the court. If any court wants to call any advocate, there is a facility to show the name of the advocate with case details on the display board. Anybody can see any case status on an E-Court app or Website (App for ECourt Services). Now, we can search any case pending anywhere in any Indian Court. Likewise, the Supreme Court and High Courts of all States have a powerful software, which provides online display boards. Now, we can see the live status of cases of hearing in Supreme Court and High Courts. Every Order, Judgement, Petition and Return is being scanned just after inclusion in Court’s records. We can easily see online the Court’s orders and Judgments soon after its delivery. If an advocate has provided his or her cellphone number to the Registry or mentioned in Vakalatnama, the Office of the Court intimate him or her the next date of hearing through SMS.

Long lasting effects of covid-19 

It’s well known the pandemic of Covid-19 has played a major role in the routine office working. Everyone wants to keep himself safe and uninfected from Coronavirus. Social distancing has become the need of time. Using a face mask in public places, every time is mandatory. In the congested courtrooms, it’s very difficult to maintain these two basic precautions for everybody. Even if we install thermal scanners in every entrance point of the court, it’s extremely difficult to stop the outbreak of Coronavirus. This is especially when the infection of Coronavirus is asymptomatic. 

Awareness about information technology

Nowadays, most of the people are well versed with the use of information technology based instruments like smartphones, tablets and computers. Most of us are now online. Especially, Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook as well as App for ECourts Services are very common and popular among advocates. Now, knowledge of English is not required to login these digital applications. Posts can be uploaded in vernacular or local languages. In the light of the present scenario, all Judicial Works from filling or institution of the case to its disposal, everything could be done and performed online. Due to the Covid situation, a few courts including the Supreme Court have also started using video conferencing medium to hear cases and arguments, which is a convenient option not only for courts and advocates, but also for all stakeholders.

Suggestion for more effective judicial system

This is the right time when we must introduce a court culture to maintain social distancing. For this purpose we must introduce a new Judicial System by way of suitable amendments in Civil, Criminal procedure and Rules of Evidence. In view of this factual situation we must think about strengthening the E-filing system that has already become part of the Judicial Process. Now it should be given preference. At present, E-filing facility is not available after filing a case in subordinate Courts. We are required to file every Interim Application (in short ‘IA’) before the Presiding Judge. This system needs suitable amendments and there should be an option for filling any IA online before the Court of Law. In the Criminal side, E-filing facility is not available in Subordinate Courts, and that needs to be started. Evidence by video conferencing is not accepted in all cases. It is permissible only if the party accused is not able to attend courts due to ill health or if the party resides abroad. This procedure should be adopted in each and every case, and should not be reason-based. For the adoption of this procedure suitable amendments should be made as the Rule of Evidence.

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