PIL seeks use of digital signatures in court verdicts, government orders

Judges order notice to the HC’s Registrar General

August 31, 2020 11:52 pm | Updated 11:53 pm IST - CHENNAI

The Madras High Court on Monday sought the response of the Centre as well as the State government to a public interest plea for affixing digital signatures on Government Orders so that the authenticity of the documents need not be doubted.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha ordered notice to the High Court’s Registrar General too since petitioner’s counsel K.P.S. Palanivel Rajan insisted that even judgments and interim orders passed by the court should contain a digital signature. The judges directed advocate B. Vijay to accept notice on behalf of the High Court administration and obtain instructions by September 7 after he said the issue was already under the consideration of the administration and a decision could be expected soon.

In his submission, petitioner’s counsel said it had become a norm in recent times to circulate court verdicts as well as government orders through electronic means even for official purposes. The court even orders issuance of notices through WhatsApp and e-mail.

Similarly, many Government Orders on public issues were being circulated among the people through social media. However, none of these documents contained digital signatures to prove their authenticity, counsel pointed out.

He said the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court and the Bombay High Court had already introduced the system of authenticating their orders using digital signatures. The Tamil Nadu government, too, uses such signatures on birth certificates and e-tenders. The practice should be extended to government orders and court orders too, he insisted.

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