Information & communication technology in district judiciary



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INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN DISTRICT JUDICIARY

  • By:
  • Talwant Singh, DHJS
  • talwant@yahoo.com

It is said:

  • It is said:
  • Law is like a hindu wife, who walks 10 steps behind the preperator of crime.
  • We have to change this notion and prepare ourselves to face the technological challenges.
  • OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE
  • People have a stereo-typed view about District Courts being slow, rigid and secretive.
  • Information & Communication Technology can help us change this impression and Courts can became more efficient, fast, responsible and user friendly.

Stakeholders in Courts

  • 1. Judges
  • 2. Litigants
  • 3. Lawyers
  • 4. Court Staff
  • 5. General Public
  • 6. Government

INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION

  • INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION
  • Information & Communication Technology is available for various uses in District Judiciary and allied areas and in some of the District Courts it is already in operation.
  • Information & Communication Technology implementation in District Courts is possible in the areas mentioned hereinafter.

Video-Conferencing

  • Technique
  • Court is connected to the Jail by ISDN Lines and at both the ends a camera unit and a display unit like, 29” TV Screen is provided with recording facility at the Court’s end.
  • Under-trial is produced at the Jail end. The Judge, Lawyers and witnesses etc. remain present in the Court and regular trial is conducted.
  • The judicial remand of the under-trial can also be extended without physically producing him in Court.

A Model Video Conferencing Court

Video-Conferencing

  • Benefits
  • Dreaded criminals can be tried without risk
  • Trial is expedited with use of this facility
  • Cost and manpower in producing undertrials only for remand extension can be saved
  • Multiple trials of an accused lodged in one jail is possible in different states
  • Evidence of witnesses unable to come to Court can be recorded
  • In child sexual offences, minor witness can be screened from the accused by use of this facility

Video-Conferencing

  • Practical Aspects
  • Judicial remand extension of undertrials is already done in Delhi, Hyderabad & Bangalore
  • Trial of Accused Telgi lodged in Pune Jail is conducted simultaneously in most of the states by using video conferencing facility
  • Possibility of recording evidence of Bharti Yadav in Nitish Katara murder case is being explored

Data Management

  • Technique
  • Data is captured at the filing stage in computers for new cases
  • Data of old cases is fed in computers using dedicated manpower
  • Data relates to date of filing, full description of parties, law provision invoked, property no., detail of witnesses, stage of trial, next date of hearing and advocate’s name etc.
  • Data is updated on daily basis without fail

Data Server Room

Data Management

  • Benefits
  • Cause-lists can be generated at the press of the button
  • Periodical statements can be easily generated
  • Cause-diary can be prepared as per set norms
  • Automatic marking of cases is possible
  • Age-wise / category-wise segregation of cases is possible

Data Management

  • Practical Aspect
  • Automatic marking of cases is functional in Hon’ble Supreme Court of India
  • Almost all the High Courts and some District Courts are maintaining upto date data-banks and preparing automatic cause-lists
  • Party name-wise, case number-wise, Act-wise searches are possible on these data-banks

Docket-Management

  • Technique
  • Files are given unique ID numbers
  • The unique IDs may be printed, bar-coded or embedded in an RFID tag
  • RFID / Bar-Coded Readers can be installed at strategic points
  • Active / In-active RFID tags can be used to identify the files

ACTIVE RFID TAG

Docket-Management

  • Benefits
  • Movement of the file can be easily tracked
  • Record – Keeper can immediately trace a file lying in a storage bin or in an almirah
  • Theft of files can be prevented
  • Repeated labour of entering the file details in all documents is not required
  • RFID tags are re-useable

Docket-Management

  • Practical Aspects
  • Modern Libraries in Courts are already using Bar-Code facility for identifying the books
  • Unique IDs are generated for all files in software developed by NIC for different Courts
  • RFID tags are the latest concept which are used by shopping malls to prevent theft of articles

Digital Signatures

  • Technique
  • The data to be sent through internet / e-mail is encrypted by using the digital signature card provided by the Service Provider
  • The said data is then sent to the receiver through e-mail / internet in encrypted format
  • The receiver decrypts the data by using the verifier software provided by the Service Provider

Digital Signatures

  • Benefits
  • The communication can become 100% safe by using digital signatures
  • Release warrants can be sent from Courts to Jails within minutes of the passing of the order
  • Certified copies can be immediately issued by the copying branch as soon as the order is digitally signed
  • Incidents like release of Sher Singh Rana from Tihar Jail on the basis of forged release warrants can be avoided

Digital Signatures

  • Practical Aspects
  • In High Court of Delhi judgements are digitally signed side by side with physical signatures
  • Digital signatures have been issued to few Judges in District Courts of Delhi on experimental basis
  • Digital Signatures will be available to all the Judges in Delhi District Courts soon
  • Tihar Jail officers are also in the process of getting digital signatures

Web-Sites

  • Technique
  • Every District Court can have its own website giving information like, location, jurisdiction, cause-lists, judgments and facilities for litigants etc.
  • Website can be hosted at the servers of NIC
  • Data-bank of the Court is to be linked through high-speed lines with NIC Headquarters
  • Website is to be updated on daily basis

Web-Sites

  • Benefits
  • Upto date information is available to the lawyers and litigants
  • Availability of current cause-lists, orders and judgements on internet free of cost
  • Transparency in the functioning of Courts
  • Faith of the public in judiciary is reinforced
  • Online inquiries can be made

Web-Sites

  • Practical Aspects
  • Supreme Court and most of the High Courts already have their websites
  • For District Courts a beginning has been already made in Delhi www.delhicourts.nic.in
  • Some other Districts like Kanpur Dehat, Bilaspur and Etawah (U.P.) have also made some progress

Biometric Identification

  • Technique
  • Biometric Readers are available in the market which can be installed with Court Computers
  • Biometric Profiles of the accused, sureties, witnesses and other Court users are to be prepared and kept in an online Data-bank
  • A person has to put his finger on the Biometric Reader to identify him and his entire history can be retrieved

Biometric Identification

  • Benefits
  • The accused, who give different name at the time of his subsequent arrest can be easily identified
  • People who stand sureties for number of accused by assuming false identities can be trapped
  • Stock witnesses who are in the habit of giving evidence in number of cases can be pin-pointed
  • No wrong person can be released from prison due to confusion of identity

Biometric Identification

  • Practical Aspects
  • Tihar Jail has already installed the necessary machines for Biometric identification of accused and Police personnel escorting them to Courts
  • Studies are being conducted to adopt Biometric Identification technology in District Courts of Delhi

Personnel Management System

  • Technique
  • Automatic contact less attendance marking machines & accompanying software is to be used for attendance of staff
  • Salary preparation software is to be used in conjunction with the attendance marking system
  • Data-bank of the details of the staff alongwith their present posting is to be prepared

Personnel Management System

  • Benefits
  • Tendency of the staff to come late to Court is curbed
  • Warning letters and reports are generated automatically
  • Salary bills & Salary slips are automatically prepared by computers
  • Transfers/Postings can be made with ease

Personnel Management System

  • Practical Aspects
  • The Central Government & many State Governments have already implemented the Personnel Management System for their staff
  • Most of the big private organisations are effectively using this software
  • District Courts have also realised the utility of the Personnel Systems and are taking steps to put them in place

Financial Package Software

  • Technique
  • A specially developed financial package software for Courts is available with NIC
  • The package takes care of calculation of Court-fee, collection of fine, deposit of rent, witness expenses, certified copy charges and preparation of treasury release vouchers
  • The software runs in conjunction with the main application software of NIC

Financial Package Software

  • Benefits
  • Calculation of the Court fee and other charges has become very easy
  • Proper cash receipts are issued to the litigants / lawyers
  • Due to online transparency, chances of corruption are minimum
  • Periodical financial statements like budget can be generated easily

Financial Package Software

  • Practical Aspects
  • In Delhi the financial package is already in use
  • Similar finance packages are being used successfully by Public Sector Banks and MNCs
  • No special training is required to run this package
  • It is compatible with the Government Treasury Software, so it can be easily integrated with it

E-Courts

  • Technique
  • Paper-less Courts
  • Audio-visual presentation facility
  • Video-conferencing facility
  • Lawyers can bring their own Laptops
  • Automatic recording of evidence
  • Modeled on the pattern of Court-21 of USA
  • Existing files- Scan & OCR Software to be used

Overview of Integrated E-courts

E-Courts

  • Benefits
  • Record of Court can be stored on few DVDs
  • Immediate retrieval of record is possible
  • Physical Barriers are broken
  • Accurate record of evidence takes place
  • Visual animations & presentation of Arguments
  • Internet Aids are available for citations & research
  • Real time monitoring of cases is possible
  • Congenial and comfortable atmosphere increases efficiency

E-Courts

  • Practical Aspects
  • Already exist in USA, Europe & Australia
  • Still at conceptual stage in India
  • To be modeled on the pattern of Court 21 of USA
  • Training of Judges is required to use this technology
  • IT Professionals, Judges, Architects Co-ordination
  • Dedicated Staff to be trained
  • E-Filing of Cases to be introduced simultaneously

E-Filing of Cases

  • Technique
  • Simultaneous filing of Soft & Hard Copies of Pleadings
  • Filing can be done on Internet or on the Facilitation Centre on CDs or Floppies
  • Dedicated Server to be provided for E-Filing
  • Combination of E-Pleadings, Computer order-sheets, evidence and Judgements = Digitized Record
  • E-Summons + E-Plaint = Complete Summons
  • Technology available for E-Service of Summons

E-Filing of Cases

E-Filing of Cases

  • Benefits
  • Digitization of Records
  • Full utilisation of E-Courts is Possible
  • Immediate service of E-Summons
  • Convenience of filing from Home/Office
  • Cost of maintaining paper files saved
  • No chances of misplacing of files
  • Trials will be expedited

E-Filing of Cases

  • Practical Aspect
  • Wide-spread use all over US & Europe
  • Supreme Court E-Filing Module is ready
  • District Court E-Filing Module will be ready by the year-end
  • High Court Rules to be amended accordingly
  • Staff, Judges and Lawyers to be trained
  • Lawyers to be given licenses to file E-Cases

IVRS & SMS FACILITY

  • Technique
  • Unique combination of Information Technology & Communication Technology
  • Data-Bank to be integrated with Mobile Phone Service Provider’s System
  • Minute to Minute updation of Proxy Server
  • Progress & Status of pending cases to be available on voice enquiry via IVRS
  • Automatic SMS response system to give details of cases on the basis of case ID

IVRS & SMS FACILITY

  • Benefits
  • People without access to computers can also enquire about their cases
  • Immediate response to the enquiries 24 X 7 X 365
  • Even illiterates can come to know the fate of their cases
  • Accurate information will be available
  • It will bring transparency to the judicial system
  • No need to come to Court Complex to make enquiries

IVRS & SMS FACILITY

  • Practical Aspects
  • IVRS is already operational in Supreme Court
  • SMS facility is being tested in Delhi District Courts
  • Some service providers are showing keen interest in this value-added service
  • Minute-to Minute Cause List on Mobile Phone is at the designing stage
  • Europe and US are lagging behind in this field

Touch Screen Enquiry Kiosks

  • Technique
  • Technology similar to Bank ATMs
  • A proxy Databank Server is to be dedicated
  • Broadband or Satellite Communication is to be used to connect Kiosk to Databank
  • Kiosks in Facilitation Centres in Court Complexes and remote blocks/villages
  • Tie-ups are possible with Banks having ATMs

Touch Screen Enquiry Kiosks

  • Benefits
  • Decongestion of Courts
  • Less requirement of staff in facilitation centers
  • Kiosks can be put up in different locations so people will get information near to their homes
  • Litigants will save cost and time

Touch Screen Enquiry Kiosks

  • Practical Aspects
  • Village Resource Centers are coming up in villages of District Sultanpur & Raibreli (U.P)
  • Budget for E-Kiosks has been provided in current year in Delhi District Courts
  • Banks and other companies are already providing various services apart from banking by using touch screen Kiosks

Store Management

  • Technique
  • Software for management of Court Stores is available with NIC
  • Initially all the items purchased and maintained in stock are to be entered in the software
  • All the items have to be assigned different codes so that in future, their names are not to be typed again

Store Management

  • Benefits
  • All the store items are accounted for
  • Pilferage of store items can be curtailed
  • The software automatically indicates the level at which order for purchasing new store items is to be placed
  • Distribution as per set parameters in different Court Complexes and riplenishment of stock can take place easily

Store Management

  • Practical Aspects
  • Stores Management Software is being used in many High Courts as well as District Courts in Delhi
  • It has streamlined the stores department and entire process has been automated
  • Similar softwares are being used by other Govt. organizations and private companies

Dictation Capturing System

  • Technique
  • Various options are available in the market :
  • a. Dragon Natural Speaking Software
  • b. Dictaphones
  • c. Dictation Softwares on PC / Laptops

Voice to Print Options

Dictation Capturing System

  • Benefits
  • Saves time of the Judges
  • Dictation can be given in spare time even at home
  • Dependency upon stenographers is reduced
  • The whole process of Judgement Writing is expedited
  • Dictaphones can be used even while traveling

Dictation Capturing System

  • Practical Aspects
  • Dragon Natural Speaking software is now available with Indian Accent but it takes time to train it to recognise your voice
  • Dictaphones are extensively used in MNCs and abroad by managers and professionals like doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants etc.
  • Limited use of these techniques has already began in Judiciary

Digitisation of Record Rooms

  • Technique
  • Technology for fast scanning of Court files is available
  • After scanning the files, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software is run
  • Proper indexing of the documents is done and the files are saved in original scanned format as well as in Word Format with index

Digitisation of Record Rooms

  • Benefits
  • One normal typed page is equal to 10 KB and after compression with Win Zip it is equal to 2 KB
  • One Flash Drive of 256 MB capacity can store 1.28 Lac pages in Win Zip compressed format.
  • One CD Rom of 700 MB can store 3.5 Lac pages
  • One Hard Disk of 40 GB can store 2 Crore pages.
  • The savings in maintaining record rooms will be huge
  • Data can be retrieved very fast

Digitisation of Record Rooms

  • Practical Aspects
  • Record rooms of Supreme Court and many High Courts are being digitized
  • Pilot project to digitize the District Courts record room in Delhi is in final stages
  • Certain changes in the rules are required to carry out record room digitization
  • E-filing will certainly help in creating digital record rooms

E-mail Communication System

  • Technique
  • Dedicated e-mail servers are to be installed in all Courts in India
  • All the Courts are to be put on a VPN (Virtual Private Network) with Broad Band / Satellite Channels
  • The Judges and Court officials are to be given E-mail IDs, Digital Signatures and training
  • Appropriate Court Specific E-mail Software is to be developed

E-mail Communication System

  • Benefits
  • Inter-Court & Intra-Court communication will become fast and secure
  • Cost of paper, printing and distributing the mail / letters will be saved
  • Orders from the superior Courts will reach instantly to the subordinate Courts ensuring immediate implementation

E-mail Communication System

  • Practical Aspects
  • Judges in Delhi District Courts are being provided with individual e-mail IDs and Digital Signatures
  • On trial basis release orders are being sent to Tihar Jail through secured e-mail in addition to conventional paper based orders.
  • Part communication between different Court Complexes in Delhi is being done through e-mail

Wi-fi Networking

  • Technique
  • Conventional system of connecting various computers through LAN (Local Area Network) has inherent weaknesses
  • Wi-fi enabled network can be installed in a Court Complex on separate frequency then normal wireless networks like, mobile phones
  • Any computer with required login and password can connect to the Wi-fi network

Wi-fi Networking

  • Benefits
  • Wi-fi networking is cost effective in the long run
  • Change of location of computers from one room to other does not require fresh laying of communication cables
  • It is much secure and fast than normal network
  • Computers can share common printers and other peripherals with Wi-fi network

Wi-fi Networking

  • Practical Aspects
  • Wi-fi networks are already providing internet services at Airports and other places in India
  • Many companies have already installed Wi-fi networks in their offices
  • A study is being conducted in Delhi District Courts for providing Wi-fi networking

THANK YOU

  • Presented by:
  • TALWANT SINGH
  • Addl District & Sessions Judge
  • Delhi
  • talwant@yahoo.com

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