Ministry of Law and Justice
azadi ka amrit mahotsav

E-COURTS PROJECT FOR ONLINE HEARING

Posted On: 16 MAR 2023 3:45PM by PIB Delhi

The Government has launched the eCourts Integrated Mission Mode Project in the country for computerization of District and subordinate courts with the objective of improving access to justice using technology. As part of the National eGovernance Plan, the project is under implementation since 2007 for ICT development of the Indian Judiciary based on the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology in the Indian Judiciary”. eCourts project is being implemented in association with e-Committee Supreme Court of India and Department of Justice. Phase I of the project was implemented during 2011-2015. Phase II of the project started in 2015 under which 18,735 District & Subordinate courts have been computerised so far.

Towards enhancement of ICT enablement of Courts, following initiatives have been taken under eCourts project by the eCommittee of the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice:

  1. Under the Wide Area Network (WAN) Project, 2976 court sites have been commissioned with 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps bandwidth speed.
  2. Case Information Software (CIS) which forms the basis for the e-Court services is based on customized Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) which has been developed by NIC. Currently CIS National Core Version 3.2 is being implemented in District Courts and the CIS National Core Version 1.0 is being implemented for the High Courts.
  3. National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) is a database of orders, judgments, and cases, created as an online platform under the eCourts Project. It provides information relating to judicial proceedings/decisions of all computerized district and subordinate courts of the country. Litigants can access case status information in respect of over 22.38 crore cases and more than 20.83 crore orders / judgments (as on 01.03.2023). Open APIs have been introduced in 2020 to allow Central and State Governments and institutional litigants including local bodies to access NJDG data to improve pendency monitoring and compliance.
  4. As part of eCourts project, 7 platforms have been created to provide real time information on case status, cause lists, judgements etc. to lawyers/Litigants through SMS Push and Pull (2,00,000 SMS sent daily), Email (2,50,000 sent daily), multilingual and tactile eCourts services Portal (35 lakh hits daily), JSC (Judicial Service centres) and Info Kiosks.  In addition, Electronic Case Management Tools (ECMT) have been created with Mobile App for lawyers (total 1.64 cr. downloads till 31st January 2023) and JustIS app for judges (18,407 downloads till 31st December 2022). JustIS mobile app is now available in iOS as well.
  5. 21 Virtual Courts in 17 States/UTs have been operationalized to handle traffic challan cases. More than 2.40 crore cases have been handled by 21 virtual courts and in more than 33 lakhs (33,57,972) cases online fine of more than Rs. 359.34 crore has been realised till 31.01.2023.
  6. The Supreme Court of India emerged as a global leader by conducting 4,02,937 hearings (till 31.01.2023 since the beginning of lockdown period). The High Courts (77,67,596 cases and Subordinate Courts 1,84,95,235 cases) have conducted 2.63 crore virtual hearings till 24.12.2022. VC facilities have also been enabled between 3240 court complexes and corresponding 1272 jails. Funds for 2506 VC cabins and VC equipment for 14,443 courtrooms have also been released. 1500 VC licenses have been procured to promote virtual hearings. A sum of Rs. 7.60 crore has been released for procurement of 1732 Document Visualizers.
  7. New e-filing system (version 3.0) has been rolled out for the electronic filing of legal papers with upgraded features. Draft eFiling rules have been formulated and circulated to the High Courts for adoption. A total of 19 High Courts have adopted the model rules of e-Filing as on 31.01.2023. Additionally, under the jurisdiction of 25 High Courts, 19 District Courts have adopted the model rules of e-Filing as on 31.01.2023
  8. e-Filing of cases requires the option for electronic payment of fees which includes court fees, fines and penalties which are directly payable to the Consolidated Fund. A total of 20 High Courts have implemented ePayments in their respective jurisdictions. The Court Fees Act has been amended in 21 High Courts till 31.12.2022.
  9. National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes (NSTEP) has been launched for technology enabled process serving and issuing of summons. It has currently been implemented in 28 States/ UTs.
  10. A new “Judgment Search” portal has been started with features such as search by Bench, Case Type, Case Number, Year, Petitioner/ Respondent Name, Judge Name, Act, Section, Decision: From Date, To Date and Full Text Search. This facility is being provided free of cost to all.
  11. To make effective use of database created through National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) and to make the information available to public 39 LED Display Message Sign Board System called Justice Clocks, have been installed in 25 High Courts.
  12. Towards creating widespread awareness and familiarization of eFiling and eCourts services and to address “skill divide”, a manual on eFiling and a Brochure on “How to register for eFiling” has been made available in English, Hindi and 11 regional languages for the use of the lawyers. A YouTube channel has been created in the name of the e Court services with video tutorials on eFiling. The eCommittee of the Supreme Court of India has conducted trainings and awareness programmes on the ICT services. These programmes have covered nearly 5,13,080 stakeholders, including High Court Judges, Judges of the District Judiciary, Court Staff, Master Trainers among Judges/DSA, Technical Staff of High Courts, and Advocates.

The phase II of the project is nearing its completion and Detailed Project Report (DPR) for e-Courts Phase III has been finalized and approved by eCommittee, Supreme Court of India on 21st October 2022. The meeting of the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) Meeting was held on 23.02.2023. Other, requisite approvals of eCourts Project Phase-III are at advance stage. Phase III of the project envisions facilitation of various new features, few of which are the digital initiatives that encompass Digital and Paperless Courts that aim to bring court proceedings under a digital format in a court; Online Court that focus on eliminating the presence of litigants or lawyers in the court through exploration and adoption of different forms of digitally enabled hearings; expansion of scope of Virtual Courts beyond adjudication of Traffic Violations ; use of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and its subsets like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) etc for analysis of case pendency, forecasting future litigation, etc.

 Funds released during the last three years for infrastructure development of e-Courts are given in Annexure-I.

The details of courts where virtual hearing is taking place is given in Annexure-II.

Training programmes were organised for Judges of High Court to familiarize them with the technology for conducting online hearings.

The details of the academic programmes that were conducted by the National Judicial Academy on e-Courts / e-Committee for High Court Judges are given below:

 

 S/N

Prog. No.

Programme Name

Prog. Date

No. of Participants

1

P-1276

Workshop for High Court Justices on ICT enablement of Indian Judiciary through E-Courts Project and the evolving concept of Artificial Intelligence

08 & 09/01/2022

24

2

P-1300

Master Trainer Programme for High Court Judges (e-committee)

21/08/2022

25

3

P-1313

e-committee National Conference (e-committee)

06/11/2022

31

4

P-1334

Ecourts Introductory Programme & Computer Skills Enhancement Programme - Level I & II (e-committee)

05/03/2023

31

In addition to the above exclusive programmes on e-Courts, two sessions are fully dedicated on e-Courts in each of the Regional Conferences being organized by the National Judicial Academy for the current academic year 2022-23. During the current academic year i.e; 2022-23, NJA has scheduled 8 Regional Conferences, of which, 5 programmes have been conducted so far in which the total number of participants was 625 (which includes High Court Justices and Judicial Officers).

 

Annexure-I

Statement referred to in reply of Rajya Sabha Question No.1885 for 16/03/2023 regarding e-Courts project for online hearing. The funds released during the last three years for infrastructure development are:

S.No.

High Courts

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

1

Allahabad

15.04

13.79

0.00

2

Andhra Pradesh

0.00

1.96

0.00

3

Bombay

0.00

8.86

0.00

4

Calcutta

0.00

4.93

0.00

5

Chhattisgarh

4.44

2.34

0.00

6

Delhi

0.00

3.00

0.00

7 (a)

Gauhati
(Arunachal Pradesh)

0.98

1.52

1.26

7 (b)

Gauhati (Assam)

13.68

6.11

3.49

7 (c)

Gauhati (Mizoram)

0.51

0.72

0.30

7 (d)

Gauhati (Nagaland)

0.70

0.83

0.84

8

Gujarat*

0.00

3.48

0.00

9

Himachal Pradesh

0.00

2.00

0.00

10

Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

0.00

1.00

0.00

11

Jharkhand

5.53

2.98

0.00

12

Karnataka

9.15

4.29

0.00

13

Kerala

0.00

2.83

1.58

14

Madhya Pradesh

11.21

6.28

0.00

15

Madras

0.00

4.73

0.00

16

Manipur

0.61

1.30

0.76

17

Meghalaya

0.92

2.32

2.23

18

Orissa

13.46

3.37

0.00

19

Patna

7.08

5.44

0.00

20

Punjab & Haryana

0.00

4.55

0.00

21

Rajasthan

1.29

10.58

1.62

22

Sikkim

1.61

1.01

0.77

23

Telangana

0.00

1.79

0.00

24

Tripura

2.24

4.44

0.95

25

Uttarakhand

0.00

1.28

0.00

Total

88.44

107.74

13.80

*Gujarat High Court surrendered Rs.13.12 Cr. Total utilization included surrendered funds.

 

 

Annexure-II

Statement referred to in reply of Rajya Sabha Question No.1885 for 16/03/2023 regarding e-Courts project for online hearing. Details of courts where virtual hearing is taking place along with details of cases heard through virtual hearings as on 31 January 2023 are:

Details of courts where virtual hearing is taking place along with details of cases heard through virtual hearings as on 31 January 2023

S. No.

High Court

No. of hearings in High Courts

No. of hearings in District Courts

Total Hearings

1

Allahabad

241390

4114257

4355647

2

Andhra Pradesh

380252

1412770

1793022

3

Bombay

38305

80818

119123

4

Calcutta

139053

81940

220993

5

Chhattisgarh

103097

43160

146257

6

Delhi

317729

4502342

4820071

7

Gauhati – Arunachal Pradesh

2292

8128

10420

8

Gauhati – Assam

266160

333777

599937

9

Gauhati – Mizoram

3963

13268

17231

10

Gauhati - Nagaland

930

650

1580

11

Gujarat

388929

192808

581737

12

Himachal Pradesh

183904

100200

284104

13

Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

257708

458532

716240

14

Jharkhand

218343

641727

860070

15

Karnataka

1170814

123066

1293880

16

Kerala

160411

541229

701640

17

Madhya Pradesh

668369

782248

1450617

18

Madras

1424427

347900

1772327

19

Manipur

38695

15288

53983

20

Meghalaya

2859

27554

30413

21

Orissa

288674

247949

536623

22

Patna

275754

2116523

2392277

23

Punjab & Haryana

581047

1873547

2454594

24

Rajasthan

229688

179006

408694

25

Sikkim

482

12227

12709

26

Telangana

299031

190327

489358

27

Tripura

10585

12564

23149

28

Uttarakhand

74705

41430

116135

Total

7767596

18495235

26262831

 

This information was given by the Union Minister of Law & Justice, Shri Kiren Rijiju in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

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SS/RKM



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