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Delhi High Court Has Been At Forefront Of Modernizing Courts In Country, Online Inspection Software A Step In Right Direction: CJI Chandrachud

Nupur Thapliyal
24 Jan 2023 2:54 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Has Been At Forefront Of Modernizing Courts In Country, Online Inspection Software A Step In Right Direction: CJI Chandrachud

Launching the online inspection software of Delhi High Court on Tuesday, Chief Justice of India, Justice DY Chandrachud said that the initiative is a “step in the right direction” of a sustainable transformation of justice delivery system.

Appreciating the Delhi High Court for always being at the forefront of modernizing courts in the country through the role of information technology, CJI said that all courts of the High Court can now function as e-courts, in addition to physical hearings from time to time.

“Initiatives such as online e-filing system, web links dedicated to mentioning of urgent matters, digitised case records, video conferencing system —have enhanced the robustness of a sustainable future court system prevailing in the Delhi High Court,” CJI said.

CJI further said: "In many ways I believe the way we lay down the law for the whole country, the Delhi High Court is way ahead of the Supreme Court in the facilities which are provided, not just to the judges but to the lawyers and to the litigants as well. So we generally tend to follow the Delhi High Court"

On a lighter note, the CJI said the great danger of replicating the Delhi High Court is that the apex court might be accused of "intellectual piracy".

"So I thought to obviate this criticism that, you know, 'we are pirating on what has been done by dynamic judges of the Delhi High Court', I can borrow the intellectual capital of the Delhi High Court into the Supreme Court. So then I've constituted this committee called the Monitoring and Implementation Committee, as part of the e-Committee of the Supreme Court to shoulder part of my burden in the e-committee, consisting of Justice Rajiv Shakhder, we have Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan from the Kerala High Court, Justice Suraj Govindaraj from the Karanataka High Court and Justice Anoop Chitkara from the Punjab and Haryana High Court because I thought that you know, we must pass on the baton to the younger generation and create administrative skills, the capacity for learning the capacity for understanding India beyond the confines of our own high courts."

CJI Chandrachud said that the judiciary has an “unenviable task” of delivering justice in a period of both challenges and ground breaking opportunities.

“Technology has become a powerful tool in the legal system, improving efficiency, accessibility, and accuracy in the administration of justice. However, the success of any initiative and innovation, whether in law or technology, depends on the ability to collaborate with stakeholders and incorporate critical feedback of those who will be using it,” he said.

CJI further said that the Supreme Court recently organised a “pilot hackathon” to explore practical propositions for bringing efficiency in the existing process from filing to listing of judicial matters.

“The next step is for the Supreme Court to organise Hackathon 2.0, which would be open for everyone to participate,” he added.

Emphasising that a feedback loop leads to improvement in the technology, CJI Chandrachud said that the willingness to test, take feedback, adapt and change would go a long way.

“Helpful feedback from the community allowed the IT Committee of the Delhi High Court to address specific needs of judicial officials, court staff, and legal professionals and issues that arose during implementation of the former e-inspection software,” he said.

Appreciating the new software of online inspection, CJI said that the next step would be taking the said initiative forward and implementing it in all the high courts, the Supreme Court and most importantly the district courts.

“The district judiciary plays a crucial role in ensuring access to justice for citizens at the grassroots level. E- inspection of judicial records at the district level would reduce our dependence on physical document handling and would allow us to move beyond the constraints of space. It is essential to ensure that such online services are compatible with most used browsers, screen-reading softwares, can be operated with ease on mobiles or devices with a low bandwidth, and most importantly they do not contribute in the digital divide,” he said.

CJI ended the address by congratulating each member of the IT Committee and court officers who led to the development of the software.

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