20 Dec 2022 4:38 AM GMT
Supreme Court judge Justice Abhay Oka on Monday recommended all High Courts to start using technology to rule out manual intervention and automate the listing of new cases. "Technology can be used to stop all kinds of manual intervention. And if we want to bring transparency to our constitutional courts, we must use our technology and ensure that the first date of freshly filed cases...
Supreme Court judge Justice Abhay Oka on Monday recommended all High Courts to start using technology to rule out manual intervention and automate the listing of new cases.
"Technology can be used to stop all kinds of manual intervention. And if we want to bring transparency to our constitutional courts, we must use our technology and ensure that the first date of freshly filed cases is automated. There should not be any choice to any member of the registry to postpone the listing of the case. Case must appear on the cause list whether the cause list consists of 100 matters, 150 matters".
Justice Oka was delivering a lecture on 'The Role of Technology in Courts: Accessible Justice, Timely Justice' at the Bombay High Court. Justice R. D. Dhanuka of the Bombay High Court also attended the event. It was organized by the Interactive Session of Women Advocates in association with Bombay Bar Association, Advocates' Association of Western India, and Bombay Incorporated Law Society.
Justice Oka said that manual intervention by members of the registry in listing of cases is a huge issue, and there shouldn't be any choice to any member of the registry to postpone the listing of cases.
Justice Oka in his lecture also emphasized on the importance of technology being inclusive. Recalling a visit to a place in Chandrapur district in 2018, he said that there was no internet connectivity at all. So, there is a class of advocates deprived of all the facilities, he said.
Speaking about the e-courts project, Justice Oka said that it is very difficult to get funds from Maharashtra government for any infrastructure project. Every High Court has implemented the project in a different way, as some state governments don't give funds while some are very generous, he said.
"The projects have been implemented in a different way in state of Maharashtra…Usually it is very difficult to get funds from the government for any infrastructure project. I'm saying this because Advocate General (Birendra Saraf) is present here. I said so in the form of my judgments. I hope that you will take note", Justice Oka said.
Justice Oka shared his experience as the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court in adopting technology during the COVID pandemic. He said that the lockdown was a trigger for the courts to use technology more and more.
He said that when video conferencing via Zoom was started, payment had to be made in US dollars and the state government rules did not permit that. Many judges used their own credit cards to make payments and had to wait for reimbursement for 4 months, Justice Oka recalled.
Video conferencing is a small use of technology, Justice Oka said adding that the most important function of technology is to make the system more efficient and accessible, as well as to throw open data about the judiciary. Use of technology optimizes functioning of the courts and brings transparency, he said.
Justice Oka concluded by emphasizing the importance of human element in the justice system. He said that merely using modern gadgets and technology is not sufficient to improve quality of justice.
"You have to remember that technology has all these advantages, but ultimately that those who are members of the legal fraternity will have to make some extra efforts to improve the quality of justice rendered in our courts", Justice Oka said.