New Delhi : Trial courts will now update litigants about the status of their cases through email, a step expected to bring transparency and efficiency in th lower judiciary bogged down by a mountain of pending cases. A mail is sent out the day the case is heard, informing the litigants about the day’s proceedings and the next date of hearing. The litigants also gets a reminder mail a day before the hearing.
“It has come to our notice that on many occasions lawyers do not give their clients the correct picture of what happens in the court and leave them clueless,” justice MB Lokur who heads the Supreme Court’s e- courts committee said. email facility is a new project under the e-courts programme started in 2005 to digitise judicial proceedings. India’s judicial system is hobbled by backlog. Around 27 million cases are pending in courts across the country, 2.81 million of these are in trial courts. A litigant would have to give an email address will filing the case and in case of a respondent, it should be done when the person marks an appearance for the first time, a judicial officer associated with the project told reporters on Sunday. For ongoing cases, the litigants can submit their email addresses to be added to the court records. Conceived by e-courts committee, the mailing system comes two years after the panel began the National Judicial Data Grid, which is open to public and gives district-wise break up of pending cases across the country.
The committee designed a training program for the trial-court staff. “Somebody has to feed the case information in the system and then only it can be processed as a mail,” the officer said. A group of officials has been trained and will further coach their colleagues. These district system administratorsare experts in both hardware and software. The next step would be to extend the programme to all 24 high courts in the country, sources said. Since the data grid was now available for high court cases, e-courts committee is working towards providing this facility to HC litigants. “We need to overcome some technical roadblocks. Soon six high courts are likely to start and we hope to reach the remaining by year end,” the officer said.
The data grid
District judges have been trained to make use of the data grid. Case details, available electronically, could help them to work out a plan for better case management, sources said. Besides workshops, online training manuals have been uploaded on the grid for the judges to analyse the data.