Counting benefits of digitisation, Justice Chandrachud calls for change in attitude

Counting benefits of digitisation, Justice Chandrachud calls for change in attitude
  • Published1월 2, 2022

Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud on Saturday underlined the importance of a change in mental attitudes as the judiciary aligns more with technology and aims to go paperless.

“Once we change our mental attitude and perception, the other parts of technology will follow suit,” he said at the inauguration of e-filing modules for Kerala High Court and the entire state judiciary.

Addressing the event virtually, Justice Chandrachud, who also heads the Supreme Court’s eCommittee, said the Committee is in the process of developing mechanism for digitisation of existing cases and making courts paperless.

“We have prepared Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for digitisation of cases across India. The idea is to have a uniform process of digitisation…. Pending cases can be digitised daily, which will ensure immediate relief,” he said.

Speaking on electronic filing (e-filing) of cases, he said it has numerous benefits. It reduces burden of travel faced by litigants and members of the Bar, providing comfort of filing them from homes or offices, the judge pointed out.

He said that e-filing also makes it accessible to those with visual disabilities, as they may now be able to access them through screen reading software.

E-filing has multiple benefits for the judiciary as well, since they can access documents on their laptops and will not have to rely on physical files. “On a personal note,” Justice Chandrachud said, “I have stopped using physical files since virtual hearing.”

E-filing, he said, also help in operation of smooth hearings in courts. If both lawyer and judges are using the same e-file, it makes hearings more efficient as navigation through documents becomes easier, he said.

Justice Chandrachud said he is hopeful that members of judiciary will encourage members of the Bar to adopt e-filing as standard practice, and they will do so by adopting e-files themselves.

He emphasised that along with introduction of such measures, it is also important to incentivise litigants and lawyers to utilise the facility.

Trying to allay fears, he sought to assure members of the Bar that adoption of technology is not intended to make their lives more complex but to make their lives simpler. He said, “The hallmark of modern technology is its simplicity.”

Justice Chandrachud said it is important for everyone to remember that adoption of e-filing should not be seen as stop-gap measure due to the pandemic, although that was what really precipitated the measure. “This is an important stepping stone for future of a modern Indian judiciary,” he added.

Although some confusions are bound to arise when such changes are made, he said it’s important for the judiciary to lead from the front and quell such concerns, which he added can be done by constant engagement with the Bar.

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