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Ecourt services gain momentum in India

According to a press release, now, court case information from all computerised districts and subordinate courts in the country will be accessible through eCourts in Common Service Centres for citizens that aren’t connected to the Internet.

Initiated in 2005, the eCourts project aims to integrate ICT with the judiciary courts in India, making for an affordable and effective legal system.

The available court case information includes judicial proceedings and decisions, case registration, cause list, case status, daily orders, and final judgments.

In 2014, the Government through the Department of Justice initiated the second phase of the project with a total outlay of approximately US $235.2 million. Under it, 16,845 courts (district and subordinate) were IT-enabled.

Additionally, the Government provided desktops or laptops to judges. Systems were installed to keep data up-to-date and for the provision of e-mails and digital signatures for court staff.

The Government also installed case information software, hardware, and local area networks. These are connected to a wide area network through a circuit that offers bandwidth up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps).

The eCourts services also make use of SMS, email, and mobile applications.

Not all citizens that get involved with the legal system have access to the Internet, making it important that case information is available through other mediums. Therefore, the Department has decided to deliver eCourt services through 200,000 Common Service Centres (CSCs) across the country.

CSCs function as access points for the delivery of national e-services.

The rural reach of CSCs is extensive. The Government plans to set up one CSC in each village council (gram panchayat) in India.

The eCourts database contains over 100 million case files and more than 70 million orders and judgments.

eCourts related services that are delivered through CSCs are free. However, CSCs have been authorised to charge IN ₹5 (US $0.07) to customers that use any of the 23 services available on the portal.

The eCourts online committee is working with the Chief Justice of India to develop a national policy on the computerisation of the Indian judiciary system. It also offers advice on technological communication and management related changes.

According to the eCourts website, the online analytical processing and business intelligence tools help summarise multiple databases into tables with reports, contributing to an efficient management system and dashboards for an effective court and case network.

The Judicial Management Information System will be helpful in litigations and adjudication pattern analysis and the impact analysis of any variation in governing factors relating to law. It will also serve as a judicial performance enhancing measure for policymakers.

Earlier this month, the Law Minister said that the eCourts project has gained popularity with more than 1.64 billion electronic transactions recorded through its eTaal portal, it is one of the most accessed services of the Indian Government, after agriculture and the public distribution system.

The Government plans to computerise and equip all high courts and district courts with a digital library. It also proposes to use solar energy as an alternate energy source, covering 5% of the total court complexes.

These courts will also facilitate cloud computing to reduce the need for individual servers and technical manpower at court complexes.

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