Sharing the data about the cases handled the judiciary during the COVID-19 lockdown period, Justice D Y Chandrachud, judge of the Supreme Court, said that the virtual working of the courts in India during this period was a "unique achievement".
Between March 24 to August 28, a total number of 28.66 lakh cases were registered 12.69 lakh cases were disposed of in the District Judiciary, he informed.
"So let us remind ourselves. When international courts have been talking about single-digit figures, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of cases which have been disposed of", he said.
Justice Chandrachud, who also happens to the Chairperson of the E-Committee of the Supreme Court, was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the launch of the new website for e-courts services.
As regards the virtual courts platform for the traffic offenses, he said that proceedings in virtual platforms have been completed in 16,51,547 cases as of now. Fine has been collected in 8,61,290 cases. A total fine of Rupees 105. 25 crores have been collected. 51, 457 violators have chosen to contest the cases.
He added that during the lockdown period, the Supreme Court disposed of over 15,000 cases and interacted with over 50,000 lawyers through the virtual medium.
"This is a unique achievement of the judicial system. Very often, we hear criticism about the judiciary. For a change, let us talk about the positives of the judicial system. It is very very easy to criticize. Because criticism has that element of curiosity. But let us all talk about the positives of the judicial system. Because this is the kind of work which is being done for the benefit of the citizens", he said.
Justice Chandrachud then elaborated about the services provided by the e-courts portal. There are over 25 lakhs daily hits in the services website. The mobile app has over 40 lakh downloads. 35,000 SMSes are sent every single day using SMS push services. 3 lakh 50 thousand automated emails are sent every day by the ecourts services system.
HC Chief Justices urged to use the data of NJDG
Justice Chandrachud then said that the National Judicial Data Grid has data of over 3.39 crores pending cases and 12.53 crores orders.
He urged the Chief Justices of the High Courts to use this "mine of data" in the NJDG for the management of litigation within.
"Chief Justices can use this "gold mine of data" to manage litigation so that attention can be given to areas that deserve it most", he said.
The NJDG also gives the reasons for the delay, such as a stay by a superior court. This can help to classify and streamline cases, he added.
He also urged the Chief Justices to talk to the respective governments to have an IPS officer as a nodal officer to help the integration of the data of criminal cases to the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System.
He informed that the Government of India has sanctioned a budge to set up e-seva kendras at every court complex of the country.
"We will have e-seva kendra in each district so that we ned not tell tell a litigant that if you don't have a smart phone or a laptop, you can't access the system. The idea of e-seva kendra is to provide the services at every court complex of the country", he said.
As regards the new website, he said that the idea is to have a citizen-centric website that gives every citizen easy access to all the initiatives of the e-committee.
"It is a storehouse of data", he remarked.
The SC judge informed that the website is based on free and open-source software in accordance with the policy of the Govt of India.
He specially acknowledged the role played by his law clerk, Rahul Bajaj, a Rhodes scholar, who gave inputs to enhance the accessibility of the website based on his experiences as a visually challenged person.
Before ending the talk, he lauded the efforts taken by the judges during the trying times of COVID-19.
"I know many of our judges have been working in difficult times. My compliment to you all for keeping the flag high of the nation in such difficult times", he said before concluding the talk.
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