The Supreme Court on Monday passed directions for all courts across the country to extensively use video-conferencing for judicial proceedings saying congregation of lawyers and litigants must be suspended to maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The top court, which has restricted its functioning and is conducting hearing through video conferencing since March 25, exercised its plenary power to direct all high courts to frame a mechanism for use of technology during the pandemic. A bench headed by the Chief Justice stressed that “technology is here to stay”.
- Virtual Court is a concept aimed at eliminating presence of litigant or lawyer in the court and adjudication of the case online.
- An e-court or Electronic Court means a location in which matters of law are adjudicated upon, in the presence of qualified Judge(s) and which has a well-developed technical infrastructure. An e-court is, however, different from a computerised court.
- In the case of e-court, everything is done in an “online environment” through the use of Internet and other Information and Communication Technology (ICT), whereas a computerised court is nothing more than a court having computers and basic level hardware and software.
- The e-courts project is about providing ICT so as to enable courts to make justice delivery system affordable and cost-effective. This would be beneficial for both improving the court processes and rendering citizen-centric services.
- E-courts are aimed to make legal processes easier and more user friendly. In an e-court, the entire work is executed digitally, wherein, the information that is shared and generated is stored as a database and synched to a particular software. This software can be accessed by litigants, judges and advocates. The primary intention of e-courts is to make the justice delivery system affordable, transparent, speedy and accountable by limiting the paper filings.