E courts: online dispute resolution and its future.

Introduction

For a country like India modernization is very important in every possible field and work, the same applies to legal and judicial system as well. The modernization of the judiciary and the process of its working has been well underway from the past several years but it can be said that it was the corona epidemic which sped the process of modernization or point in case, the concept of e-courts over the judges and the advocates in India which will pave a way for the continuation of this method even after the pandemic ends. A country like India has many problems in its judicial system such as a huge backlog, increasing arrears and the unprecedented delays in the disposal of cases. For the Indian judicial system to effective, efficient and relevant, it must continually reform its apparatus and mode of functioning this includes the comprehensive computerization of courts and digitization of services.

An e-court or electronic court means a destination where matters of law are adjudicated upon, in the presence of qualified judges and which has a well developed technical infrastructure. In other words it means that the hearing is conducted online with the presence of judges and advocates, advocates presenting all the relevant facts, submissions through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) over the internet and the judges deciding upon the hearing online as well. An e-court is however, different from a computerized court. In the case of e-court everything is done in an “online environment” through the use of ICT whereas a computerized court is nothing more than a court having computers and basic level hardware and software.

Advantages

  • The e-courts provide ICT so as to enable courts to make justice delivery system cheap and cost-effective.
  •  It is beneficial for improving the court procedure and providing citizen-focused services.
  •  E-courts are aimed to make legal procedures relatively easier and more easy to understand by the common citizens. In an e-court, the whole process is carried out digitally, where, the information that is presented and or generated is stored as a database and uploaded to a particular software.
  •  This software can be accessed by all the parties to the case, judges and advocates. The main focus of e-courts is to make the process of   justice delivery system affordable, transparent, fast and responsible by limiting the paper filings.
  •  The main advantage of establishment of Electronic Courts in India is to provide a justice serving mechanism that is transparent, efficient, cheap, time effective, protects the interests of witnesses, reduces the backlog of pending cases.

Disadvantages

While e-courts are a step forward towards ensuring speedy justice for the litigants, provide simple and enhanced access to justice for public and also provide a way for the huge number of pending cases in the country, the complex of e-courts raises various challenges. These challenges include-:

  • the lack of coordination, communication between inter depending or all the departments, training vast number of employees, lack of technical support and manpower in courts and awareness amongst litigants and general public, advocates and their acceptance to the change in system.
  • E-courts will be cost intensive for setting up the state of the art e-courts requires the deployment of new age technology.  In the long run, e-courts will face the issue of lack of funds considering the current state of our judicial complexes in India. If we consider technology, a huge concern will be the cyber security threat.
  • Though the government has initiated steps to tackle this problem and created a Cyber Security Strategy, but it is more on the side of prescribed guidelines alone. The practical and actual implementation of the same is still aloof.
  •  We can also expect challenges such as insufficient infrastructure and non-availability of electricity and internet connectivity in most of the Talukas/villages.

Potential

In India, a relevant amount of time is spent in resolving issues which have been the real bane of the Indian judiciary system. The E-courts, can go a long way in saving costs and time for the litigants. They need to be encouraged all over India.  

The present situation has urged the government to take active steps to establish e-courts all over India. All these government efforts will result in providing quick and cost effective solutions to the litigants. The judiciary system in India with the help of e-courts can overcome the restrictions and make the service delivery mechanism transparent and simple. The e-courts will also benefit the judicial system and will provide flexible and effective retrieval of stored information. This will allow judges to view the proceedings of a previous case or to retrieve other important documents easily with the click of a button. Data sharing between all the courts and various departments will also be made easy as everything would be online under the integrated system.

With the help of video conferencing, the accused and the witnesses can be made to participate in the proceedings from various locations rather than the courtroom. This will, reduce the time required to solve the case and will also be cheap. Further, the e-court project also pushes the executive and the judiciary to reconfirm their resolve to support a speedy, efficient and quality justice delivery in the country. It is also important to discuss steps required to overcome the various challenges facing the judicial system. Solutions that will require to address the challenges such as inordinate delays in disposal of cases in courts, facilitating access to speedy resolution making the justice system user friendly and affordable to all and improving the quality of legal aid services in the country would be imperative to drive the functioning of e-courts.

Establishing e-courts can bring transparency and accountability in the judicial system as they can bring a lot more judicial reforms in India while helping in dealing with the long pending cases. E-courts will prove to be a major step in the evolution of India’s legal framework and will play a major role in boosting the confidence of domestic and foreign businesses as they explore investments in India.

E courts in different countries.

Canada

Apart from the unacceptable time it takes to find judgement in regular government courts, the actual litigation process also adds a mystique for many people and makes the entire process through the traditional courts a very frustrating and intimidating experience to the layperson. In recognition to above, e-Court has been introduced to provide competent, affordable, simple, speedy and transparent justice for everyone. E-Court also provides a uniform litigation system throughout Canada without the need to understand the peculiarities existing in each provincial legislative system.

Korea

With the introduction of computer system to judicial affairs, more effective processing of judicial affairs has become feasible. In particular, based on high-speed internet network nationwide, the Court provides wide range of judicial information services to the public, including comprehensive legal information system (CLIS), search of cases, Internet Registry Office, and Court Auction Information. Recently, as the production and distribution of electronic documents becomes more common with the development of IT technology and people’s demand for disclosure of judicial information and communication with courts grows, the Court has built electronic litigation system based on the world-class capacity of judicial informatization, satisfying people’s high expectation.

England

All you have to do is write up your dispute, submit your Case Notes to E-Court and await the verdict.  It’s as simple as that. E-Court cuts out the costs of lawyers, solicitors, barristers, QC’s, or High Court Judges, by letting your case be assessed by a judge and jury consisting solely of a selection of intelligent, fair-minded people who are only interested in finding impartial solutions based on logic and merit. E-Court cuts out the costs of lawyers, solicitors, barristers, QC’s, or High Court Judges, by letting your case be assessed by a judge and jury consisting solely of a selection of intelligent, fair-minded people who are only interested in finding impartial solutions based on logic and merit. E-Court cuts out the costs of lawyers, solicitors, barristers, QC’s, or High Court Judges, by letting your case be assessed by a judge and jury consisting solely of a selection of intelligent, fair-minded people who are only interested in finding impartial solutions based on logic and merit. The packages are the standard package, the premium package and a mediation package.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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