Information Technology and the Indian Judiciary
Impact of the Information Technology on the Judiciary of India
In the modern India, the bosom friend of a judicial officer is his lap top. It is just an example to show how far the judiciary in India is heavily dependant upon the information technology. The impact of the information technology on the judiciary is tremendous and it has permeated into almost every nook and corner of the judiciary.
It is true that the Indian judiciary is the colonial legacy of the British legal system. But what the British left during the pre-independent and in the independent India was only a skeleton and somewhat primitive tools of judiciary. In the pre-independent days, there was no Supreme Court in India. An aggrieved person in those days had to go all the way to England to prefer an appeal before the privy council which was the highest court of appeal presided by a couple of Lords.
When India promulgated the Indian constitution in 1950 and became a Republic, the Indian Judiciary improved a lot.Then the Indian government established the Supreme Court of India in Delhi and a number of High Courts in almost all the states. Despite these developments, an aggrieved appellant had to go all the way to Delhi to prefer his appeal in the Supreme Court, traveling thousands of miles and spending weeks together.
When the Indian government introduced the information technology,the Indian Judiciary got rapidly improved and modernized. Now you can feel the impact of it in almost every department of the judiciary. It has affected the entire legal fraternity that includes the lawyers, the judges, the staff of the legal department and the litigating public as well.
In the filing process:-
Practicing and Non-practicing lawyers and their office staff heavily use the tools of information technology for their active practice and other connected legal works. Type writers have become obsolete and computers have replaced them with internet facility. The lawyers use their systems for typing, storing legal files, to take print outs of their plaints, all types of petitions and affidavits. By using the internet facility, they also resort to e-filing of their plaints, writs and petitions in any court of law without traveling a single kilometer or wasting their precious time in their filing process.
In the hearing process:-
When the Indian government introduced computerization and internet along with multimedia facility in the judicial department, the process of hearing has become much easier. Whenever a witness deposes before the judge, his evidence is instantly recorded rather nonchalantly and copies of deposition are ready within a few minutes. Similarly, if a judge disposes of any interlocutory petition, within minutes a litigant can get his copy of the order.A witness residing in a far off place from the Supreme Court or a High court need not travel all the way to Delhi or to any High Court. By using the e-conferencing facility, a witness can depose live before a judge from the place of his residence. It helps to avoid traveling hundreds or even thousands of km, thereby saving money and time.Above all it helps to avoid the risks of transporting a dangerous witness all the way, say from Chennai to Delhi. Just imagine the deposition by a witness from Chicago, through e-conferencing facility before the sitting judge in a New York court.
As a source of reference:-
Precedents are very important for lawyers which are nothing but verdicts of the previous decided cases that may have a bearing and relevance in deciding the same type of cases come across by the judges. It is the duty of the lawyers to bring such precedents to the notice of the judges to decide their new cases. Lawyers, judges and the litigating public may see the latest or old decisions of Supreme Court and High Courts through the official web sites of these courts. A lawyer no longer needs to have a spacious office or large volumes of legal journals as a source of reference. What he needs is a small office that can accommodate the lawyer and his client and a computer with internet facility and a person to run the system. Within a few minutes, a lawyer can refer the relevant source, besides downloading them, if necessary. Private publishers of legal journals in print also offer such on-line referring facility. Going a step further, compact discs loaded with huge and voluminous legal precedents covering Supreme Court and High Courts are available at finger tip.
Providing general legal information:-
The official web sites of High Courts, Supreme Court, Tribunals, Consumer commissions etc, besides providing the details of required judgments and their updates, also give the details of dates of hearing of the suits, appeals and petitions, their real stage, details of disposal etc. This facility facilitates the lawyers, judges and the litigating public to track the real stage of their cases in the relevant courts, besides providing the latest and updated information in the filing process.
Role of private legal web sites and Social net working sites:-
Many private legal web sites offer invaluable legal information, provide links with the lawyers’ network and offer legal advice to the needy. Members of Lawyers’ Club of India share their latest legal information, begin the legal discussion on important and current legal issues on Face Book, the social net working site. LinkedIn is another website that provides a very good platform for discussion on sensational legal issues among the persons with legal qualifications and engaged in legal work.
Thus the information technology has created an indelible impact on the judiciary of India, besides helping in the speedy disposal of the cases in India.