The Chief Justice of India Hon’ble Justice Dipak Misra launched various applications for the benefit of the litigants and lawyers, under eCourts Project, for proper delivery of digital court services. These are path breaking citizen centric applications, principal components of which (eCourts Project) is especially the crucial pan-Indian Wide Area Network (WAN) Connectivity programme.
3 applications of e-filing, e-pay, and NSTEP (National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes) created under the eCourts project were launched first. The second phase of the eCourts project is implemented by Department of Justice during 2015 – 19 under the guidance of eCommittee, Supreme Court of India for ICT enablement of all district and subordinate courts in the country.
The e-Filing application is made available at efiling.ecourts.gov.in where online registration of lawyers and litigants can be done. Through the application, one can file cases from any part of India to any court on registration. Portfolio management of cases of litigants and lawyers is provided on this portal and one can get updates from time to time about filed cases, cases under objection or rejected cases. The facility of e-Sign is provided for those who cannot afford purchasing token for making digital signatures.
The e-Filing application will facilitate efficient administration of Judicial System, as it will ease pressure on filing counters and will speed up work flow processing. Data entry will be more accurate which will help to take data driven decisions in court administration. It will start building digital repositories which will auto generate paper books and can be quickly transmitted to Higher Courts which will reduce delays. The application will help reduce touch point of litigants will also result in more productivity of staff members and can send documents for service to other locations or mail addresses which will be relatively easy and the requirement of scanning the record can be done away with.
The ePay application at pay.ecourts.gov.in is a unified portal wherein facility to pay online court fees is provided. The platform is user friendly which can be used with very little self help. e-Payment is a safe and secure, quick and easy way to pay court fees . At present, the facility will be made operational in two states of Maharashtra and Haryana. OTP authentication provides secure way to financial transactions and one can get instant acknowledgement through SMS and print receipt. The application is beneficial to judicial administration since verification of court fees is more easy, secure and transparent and accurate figures of court fees collected can be generated for any court, district or State.
NSTEP – National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes is another innovative application launched as part of the eCourts Project, which is an collaboration between Case Information Software (CIS), web portal and mobile application. It is a transparent and secure system for transmission of process from one location to another, and shall address delays in process serving particularly for processes beyond jurisdiction. It will lead to secured auto generation of processes with unique QR Code through CIS, publishing processes on portal and transmission of processes to other court complexes in the country and ultimately to mobile app of the bailiffs. A facility to send electronic processes directly to registered mail of the addressee by secured mechanism, to upload documents associated with process and facilities like tracking GPS where process is served or otherwise, obtaining photograph and on screen signature after service is provided. Immediate communication of status of service of process to Court and stake holders will be done and there is a secured dedicated system for transmission of processes from one district to another or from one state to another with travel time in seconds. The service will empower litigants with real time information relating to status of service of process and will entail litigants to take immediate follow up action which will reduce delays. The status of service can also be tracked on public portal.
The National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) for district & subordinate courts has been created as an online platform which now provides information relating to judicial proceedings/decisions of 16,089 computerized district and subordinate courts of the country. The portal provides online information to litigants such as details of case registration, cause list, case status, daily orders, and final judgments. Currently litigants can access case status information in respect of over 10 crore cases and more than 7 crore orders / judgments. Litigant centric information can be obtained through the website of the eCourts portal by accessing using the URL: https://ecourts.gov.in. Case information is thus available speedily to the petitioners and respondents. The eCourts portal and National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) also serve as tools of efficient court and case management for judiciary which aids in disposal of pending cases.
The eCourts project also plays an important role in enabling Ease of Doing Business in the country through automation and technology enablement leading to generation of reports, and putting electronic case management tools in place for use by judges and lawyers to track the status of a given case (future hearings, deadlines, etc.), access court orders and decisions on a given case as well as automatic generation of a hearing schedule for all cases on the judge docket.