Information Communication Technology is more like an umbrella that includes all sorts of technologies. It is used for the communication of different types of information through digital mode. Technological Development has indeed coped up with the current need & expectations of the people and has ultimately changed the whole course of this great Human Civilization. It has brought an enormous amount of change in almost all fields of human activity.
It has resulted in enhanced efficiency, productivity, and quality output in every segment of life. ICT, or the Information and Communication Technology, is the new modern infrastructure and component that enables modern computing. Although there is no single or a universal definition of ICT, yet the term is generally accepted to mean all technological devices, apps, and systems as a whole, which when together combined as whole allows the people to interact globally in this digital world.
Impact of the use of ICT
The use of ICT has yielded a positive response in every segment of human life. Moreover, with its enhanced efficiency, productivity & the quality of output, it will deliver much better results in the nearby future. There is no single doubt that ICT has made an immense contribution in every field. It is especially seen in the social and the economical field resulting in a better quality of life for each and every one of us.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ICT “can contribute to achieving universal education worldwide, through the delivery of education and training of teachers, improved professional skills, better conditions for lifelong learning, and the potential to reach people that are outside the formal education process”. The role of ICT is not just only limited to education, business & organization but it can also prove out to be very helpful & act as a boon for the legal field as well.
The need for ICT during a pandemic
We all are very much aware of the scenario of the ongoing Pandemic. It is not practically possible to exercise manual labor in a physical model, following the precautionary norms of the Coronavirus. Hence, the virtual model should be brought into consideration so as to carry out all those legal works which require or are of prime importance.
While the Information Technology struck India some years ago, yet still today, several important and crucial fields which have huge workload are still scumbling due to insufficient installation of these new technologies in their work arena. One of those major sectors includes our Independent Judiciary which on an urgent note needs to be revitalized with new and modern technologies for the advancement & proficient functioning of the system.
Use of ICT to solve issues
Today, major problems faced by our Independent Judiciary are related to the backlog cases which need to be disposed of as soon as possible along with their judgments. All these difficulties can partly be resolved through the installation of the ICT in the working arena of our Independent Judicial System. These technologies can contribute enormously towards the improvisation of the working system of our Independent Judiciary. The Indian Judicial System needs to regain its lost trust within the eyes of the general public, who are still waiting for justice to be done within the proportionate time.
However, the present pace of equipping all these new & modern technologies is way too slow and is unlikely to produce the desired impact in the nearby future, particularly at the subordinate court level, where the workload is much more in comparison to any other courts in India.
Areas where technology can boost productivity
Hence, the following areas where the use of modern technological devices can result in enhanced productivity and reduction of delays, are-
- Legal Information Data Bases.
- On line query system for precedents, citations, codes, statutes, etc.
- Generation of Cause List and online statistical reports.
- Online Caveat matching.
- Online updating of data, monitoring, and “flagging” of events.
- The pooling of orders and judgments.
- Daily List generation with historical data of each case.
- Word processing with standard templates including generation of notices/processes.
- Access to international databases.
- Feedback reports for use of various levels.
Based on these characteristics as defined above, ICT should be possibly installed in every sector of work. Especially in the work of practice such as Litigation, advocacy, criminal law, and insurance, etc. However, it is important to mention that the ICT used in developing countries has emerged as an obstacle. Which includes problem like, insufficient funds to locate the same, no proper manpower recruitment, high cost of importation of hardware and software, and even other accessories of ICT.
For this technology to be more prominent, there must be proper output or productivity of the same. Productivity is basically the output generated from the ICT per hour. However, the use of ICT in the working sector could definitely increase the productivity of the legal practice.
Possible reforms in the Indian Judiciary
The Indian Judiciary is facing great mounting pressure from the worldwide to reform its structure and the working system within their spheres. Even the Indian Judiciary, itself feels the need for change, which has already been overdue for a long time. Some figures show that it would require at least three long years to cope with the backlog cases for the State High Courts, which could probably be like the death knell for the Indian Judicial System. Hence, reforms must be carried out with the changing time and to achieve the scenery of the speedy justice and to tackle all the inadequacies of the system to withstand the statement, “access to justice for all”.
Hence, reforms like these, as improvising the working system by including ICT in the working sector of the Judiciary could work as a boon in for the Indian Judicial System in order to have the speedy justice and meet the needs of the people seeking justice from the Court of Law. As per the original facts, more than three lakhs are pending before the courts which need to be settled down as soon as possible. The Judiciary needs to regain trust amongst the common people which certainly, they have lost.
Problems in rural areas
The number of rural courts in India is far too low, which ultimately results in the limits of access to justice for the common people who reside far away from the mainland of the district. Even the population of the sitting judges is far too less in comparison to the population and the number of cases filed within their jurisdiction, which ultimately results in the increase in the total number of pending cases before the Courts.
One would be really surprised to know that since the establishment of the Supreme Court in the year, 1950, only twenty-five thousand cases have been disposed of along with their judgments and that figure is too low and disheartening. Well, now the organized citizens are asking for their right to have a more transparent Judicial System, so that common people could understand the mechanism of the Justice Delivery System with their ease.
Initiative for a more transparent system
As the governments have taken a great initiative in transforming the Indian bureaucracy into a transparent system so that they could enhance the system and the quality of the government service as well. Hence, there is great hope, that ICT will also be included in the working system of the Judicial System and would play a greater role there. There are many other nations like Singapore, Canada, Australia, and parts of Latin America that have also recruited ICT in their Judicial framework and have got a colour full result from that.
Paperless courts are being run in nations like Singapore which makes the compelling case for automation. However, it would be unfair to say that only the use of ICT would give you the desired results which we all seek for as there are several other factors like the political will, institutional capacity and many other reform goals which have and are still playing a great role in shaping the desired result in the sector of Litigation.
All these strategies need to implemented to restore the lost faith amongst the common people with regard to the Indian Judiciary by increasing transparency and accountability. This is all possible only if we make all the procedures and mechanisms of the Justice Delivery System accessible for the common people by installing video technologies in the courts and publishing all the guidelines online related to any of the respective cases.
All these reforms can really change the world’s largest Litigation System in the world. They would also pave a way for the enhancement of the IT sector simultaneously. And would make the Judicial system free from its historical inefficiencies. There is no doubt that this system would reduce the usage of paperwork. And would make the courts go green through the electronic case filing and video conferencing.
Online case filing systems would definitely increase the speed in working of the Judicial System more efficiently, as all the cases heard would be online and hence, judgments would be given in a more soothing way and most importantly without any delay. To ensure these technologies in the Judicial System, it is necessary that these reforms remain complimentary for the working of a sound National Judicial Technological System.
However, without the basic building blocks, it is often difficult to establish a National Judicial Technological System that would run successfully, as it would lead to a lot of chaos all over the Litigation System in the Country. Therefore, a well-functioning Judicial System is required to cope up with the demands of this modern democratic citizens.
It is totally an indisputable fact that the implementation of these technologies will play an influential role in order to strengthen up the relations between the common people and the government and thus conclusion still remains the same that ICT would be very beneficial in the working of the modern Judicial System efficiently and transparently. Hence, including ICT in the Litigation is not the option anymore. But it’s more like the Need of an Hour in the current scenario of this Pandemic.
Saksham Srivastava | Amity Law Scool, Lucknow19