Digitising court records comes to the aid of litigant public in Bidar

Shantavva Halembure has a hearing in the court of the Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate. The septuagenarian lives in Chitaguppa in Humnabad and has to make a tiring bus journey for two hours to come to Bidar. However, just when she is getting ready to leave, she gets an SMS saying that the hearing is postponed to next Tuesday. She is relieved and begins to focus on her daily chores. This facility, now being extended to petitioners, is part of a project to digitise the District Magistrate Court.

“This helps us address two issues — it makes monitoring easy and aids petitioners by making the system transparent,” says Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari, who trained to be an electronics engineer.

As part of a pilot project being taken up, documents related to all current cases have been digitised. “On the back-end, we are also scanning and digitising documents related to old cases. We plan to convert them to Unicode characters by using optical character recognition tools. We hope to complete the digitisation process in one year,” he said.

The process began one month after Mr. Tewari took charge and the first phase has almost come to an end. All cause lists are on the district website (www.bidar.nic.in). The movement of files can be viewed by petitioners or their lawyers. SMS alerts are sent to both the parties after the files are cleared at different levels. An internal tool allows the Deputy Commissioner and officers concerned to go through the files, record their observations and virtually clear the files submitted by lower-level officials using tools such as digital signatures.

Mr. Tewari says that these exercises help him analyse the trends of petitions and disputes and think of ways to ensure quick disposal of files. “We will gradually digitise the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Court too,” he added.

A challenge

However, there are some real challenges. “Managing documents in Bidar is very different from what is happening elsewhere, as the documents here are in multiple languages — Persian, Urdu, English, Marathi and Kannada,” a senior revenue officer said. “We have, in-principle, decided to convert all of them in digital format and then translate them whenever required,” he added.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 11:43:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/digitising-court-records-comes-to-the-aid-of-litigant-public-in-bidar/article8043772.ece

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