The Delhi High Court on Monday asked its Rules committee to consider changing rules to allow double-side printing in filing while hearing a petition seeking directions that the high court and all subordinate courts in Delhi must use double-sided pages for all pleadings to save trees, water and conserve the environment.
The high court is hearing petition filed by the Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (C.A.S.C.) saying use of double-sided pages would halve the requirement of paper, which in turn would cause savings of trees, water and other natural resources.
Petitioner’s advocate Virag Gupta said the high court has ordered the Rules Committee to examine the matter preferably within eight weeks and also study practices in other high courts as passing the direction prayed for would require an amendment in the Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018.
The petition, filed through advocate Gaurav Pathak, said the High Court of Delhi and all subordinate courts in Delhi use one-sided paper, with double-spaced typing and wide margins, which cause huge paper consumption.
Citing an example of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh which had on December 30, 2016 amended its rules to allow filing of double-sided prints, the petition said, “Research shows that using line spacing as 1.5 instead of 2 causes 25 per cent savings of paper. Hence, there is now no reason to not use double-sided prints.”
“On a national scale, 13914226 and 113012 new cases have been filed in the subordinate courts and high courts alone. Considering all these cases to be of mere 50 pages, using single-sided prints, a total of 601775200 pages were used. Had double-side prints been used, it would have saved approximately 36,108 trees along with 3,008,876,000 litres of water,” it said.
The petition said one-sided printing came into practice only because in earlier times, typewriters were used and the papers used to be thin. Consequently, double-sided prints were not feasible due to printing marks appearing all over the paper. However, modern-day printers are efficient and the paper quality has increased.
The petition also relied on various reports to highlight the need for reducing usage of paper in courts and how despite e-filing, paper continues to be used on a large scale in courts.
It relies on a paper titled ‘Conserving the Canvas: Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Legal Briefs by Re-Imagining Court Rules and Document Design Strategies’ written by Ruth Anne Robbins, a Law Professor at Rutgers University, New Jersey, United States, wherein she discussed ways to reduce paper usage in courts.
“As per various reports, it takes approximately 10 liters of water to create a piece of paper. One generic estimate to use for the conversion is 8,333.3 sheets of virgin paper per tree. That number reflects only the raw material, however, and does not include the water or energy involved.
“As per a report by Niti Aayog, Delhi and 20 other cities in India are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020. Mandating double-side print would halve the requirement of paper, which is in line with the idea of Digital India and will also save the space required to store them,” it added.