‘E-courts site to be available in 22 languages’

Requests Madras HC to publicise its work in Tamil too

September 18, 2020 12:57 am | Updated 12:57 am IST - CHENNAI

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of the Supreme Court on Thursday said the court’s e-committee, chaired by him, was in the process of translating the e-courts website in 22 languages. He requested the Madras High Court too to publicise the work being done by it not only in English but also in Tamil for the benefit of the people.

The judge made the request after inaugurating, virtually, five digital projects in Tamil Nadu. He inaugurated the service of court notices and summons using smartphones, an e-seva centre at Yercaud, provision of e-court services through State government’s e-seva centres, biometric attendance for district court staff and an e-way finder at the High Court.

The judge commended Madras High Court Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, the chairman of the High Court’s e-committee, for the rapidity with which e-court projects were being implemented in Tamil Nadu. He said the State was leading the way for the rest of the country.

Stating that conduct of cases through virtual courts, due to COVID-19, had turned out to be highly successful due to the ease that technology provides, he said out of 34.74 lakh cases instituted in the district courts across the country between March 24 and September 13, as many as 15.32 lakh had been disposed of during the same period.

Earlier, Justice Sivagnanam said that of the 1,83,224 cases instituted in the district courts in Tamil Nadu between March 26 and September 15, the judicial officers had disposed of 1,29,068 cases. He credited the technical staff in the judicial services for having ensured that the shift from physical to virtual haring was seamless.

Recognising the fact that there was a big technological divide in the country with many lacking Internet connectivity and gadgets required to access e-court services, Justice Chandrachud said the courts and the governments were obligated to provide the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services at every village.

Also emphasising the need to ascertain reasons for huge pendency of cases, he said about 46% of criminal trials in the country appeared to have got delayed because the accused were absconding. Once the reasons were identified, they could be addressed by issuing appropriate instructions to the officials concerned, he pointed out.

Justice Sivagnanam said that Madras High Court had successfully convinced the Tamil Nadu e-governance agency to provide e-court services too through 12,649 e-seva centres operated by the latter. Services such as e-filing of cases and appearance before virtual courts would now be provided at those centres too.

The High Court had also purchased 2,906 smartphones at a cost of ₹3.48 crore for service of court notices and summons by all district courts in the State. Similarly, 407 biometric attendance machines had been purchased at a cost of ₹80.35 lakh, apart from establishing an exclusive e-seva centre for court services in Yercaud, on a pilot basis.

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