Why Did The Project E-Court Fail, What Is The Reality?

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An overwhelming urge for reforms in the judicial sphere in India. It happens through advanced technologies. In order to make a national policy and action plan for implementing ICT in courts.  

The Chief justice of India presented this initiative, Mr. R.C Lahoti, to enable the judiciary. In order to empower itself for the digital age, effectively deliver justice, and create a systematic system of data collection and access to all the information on figure tip. 

The initiative was taken to ease the accessibility of information to its stakeholder, enhance judicial productivity, and work on the quality and quantity of cases to provide a more cost-efficient, reliable, and transparent verdict.

eCourt project – Soon India will have 24/7 digital window to file cases from anywhere | StudyIQ IAS

Obstacles Of E-court

Obstacles Of E-court
Obstacles Of E-court | Image By Lawzik

The e-court project was implemented from 2008 to 2014. The major issue with this was the inconsistency of the data availability. This era was considered the gap created due to sudden changes in the process of judicial proceedings. 

Data for cases filed prior to 2014 are not consistently available.

Furthermore, as we go back in history, the data for disposed cases becomes increasingly scarce. 

  • Variations In Case Identification:

The next drawback of e-court is that the data recording is considerably different in all respected courts. An unsystematic approach to tagging cases refers to a quest for cases under an Act that will likely yield an incomplete set of cases for a provided court complex. 

Such inconsistency in case tagging results in inaccurate information about real litigation under a given statute. The problem stems from differences in what each state considers to be a case. The specific understanding and distribution of cases to their respective bodies of legislation leads to several internal disturbances between the civilians. 

  • Delay Of The Judicial Process:

The worst part of all is that justice is delayed as there are a subtle number of cases that lack harmony between name and case type, leading to an undeniable accumulation of cases and adding to the pile of pending cases. 

According to the official website of the e-court of India, there are still 5.7 million cases pending in front of the respected magistrate. In some cases, it was significantly traced that the statute names are missing, failing to accommodate the case under the basic perimeter of the guideline of judicial procedure.

 

  • Missing Data Of The Final Verdict: 

Many cases are reported where the Act names and Section number are mentioned, but the final order links are missing. According to the survey recorded by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy of New Delhi, in around 70%of cases, the final orders are not available. 

This gives an incomplete report of certain cases. Though with, more improvement in the technology and adaptation to the new era has led to a slight improvement. 

Some of the district courts have perfectly worked on their management system and successfully uploaded their judgment. But at the same time, Delhi and Maharashtra’s courts have poorly failed, probably because of the caseload in these cities.

  • A Gap Between Manual And The Digital World 

 From a system design standpoint, the problems of missing and incorrect data in the dataset stem from a gap that exists between the IT system used internally by the courts to manage case-level data and the system by which data is disseminated. Through the data entry operators, the data were transferred into the e-court. 

  • Undocumented Data 

The next hurdle is the considerable number of cases have blank fields for the filing date, first hearing date, and last hearing date. The trial without these necessary data is nearly impossible to record in systematic order. 

Moreover, there is a significant count of cases where the case hearing history is not available to access at all. Furthermore, this phenomenon is state-based; there were many missing values in Gujarat, Goa, and Assam compared to that in Delhi, Punjab, Telangana, and Maharashtra.  

Some fields could be of great use but are rarely populated with the data management problem; the utility and the scope for research are very limited. 

Suppose these errors in the data did not exist.

In that case, it could open up several interesting and important lines of inquiry into the functioning of the judiciary and its impact on the Indian economy and society. These are the stumbling blocks of the e-court judicial system. 

The major loopholes were the management and archival data, consideration of the case and providing a proper definition, the process of manuals for data quality control also, preservation of data, data quality revies, and the institutional arrangements to operate systematically.

Documentation and dating of each act, discussing all the past trials, and re-arranging data for a smooth working base are important.

E-Courts in India | Scope, Challenges for #UPSC by Mayur Mogre | Mayur Mogre

Final Takeaway

The lack of proper data collection could create a massive communication gap and can’t be presented with the statistics to support the cases. Miscommunication results in the delay of judicial procedure. 

According to the NIPFP, operation and management are equally important to gather, analyze and verify each data and produce trustworthy work. 

As in the common notion, “justice delayed is justice denied” by Sir William E. Gladstone truly means that if justice isn’t carried out promptly, even if it is carried out later, it is not truly justice since there was a period when justice was lacking. 

E courts data could only be useful as a primary source of studying the state-level studies, specifically in certain districts and in certain case types. Because the name of the substantive law governing a dispute is frequently not cited, the data cannot be used to study substantive aspects of the law. 

Many of these issues are the prime objective to solve by the government of India to create a most effective source of the judicial process. Steps like regular quantity checks of data, assigning responsibility to people for data entry, and validation under proper authority.  

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