Ministry of Law and Justice

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: YEAR END REVIEW-2020

Video Conferencing equipment provided to all Court Complexes including Taluk level courts;  Funds  sanctioned for additional VC equipment for 14,443 court rooms

Nine virtual Courts have been set up; These courts handled 35,02,896 cases and realised Rs.130.72 Cr in fines as on 08.12.2020

Covid-19 Software Patch developed to help in smart scheduling of cases according to urgency

Through tele-law free legal advice service now available in 285 Districts to marginal sections.

Posted On: 31 DEC 2020 9:45AM by PIB Delhi

The Year 2020 has seen very significant initiatives by the Department of Justice of Union Ministry of Law and Justice. Apart from filling up vacancies in the High Courts, a number of steps were taken to expedite delivery of justice and court case resolutions, especially in view of the difficult situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic. The department stood up to the challenge and ensured functioning of e-courts, virtual LokAdalats as also providing a mechanism for dispute resolution at pre-litigation stage itself.

1.         Appointment and transfer of Judges

 

Appointment and transfer of Judges is significant for expediting litigation and imparting justice. To fulfil this goal Department of Justice (DoJ) has proactively attempted to fill the vacancies of judges in various High Courts of country.

 

•           66 fresh Judges were appointed in the High Courts – High Court of Bombay(4), Allahabad(4), Gujarat(7), Karnataka(10), Andhra Pradesh(7), Jammu and Kashmir(5), Kerala(6), Rajasthan(6), Punjab and Haryana(1), Manipur(1), Calcutta(1), Orissa(2), Tripura(1),Telangana(1) and Madras (10).

•           90 Additional Judges were made permanent in High Courts - High Court of Allahabad(31), Karnataka(10), Calcutta(16), Madras(9), Chhattisgarh(3), Himachal Pradesh(1), Punjab and Haryana (7), Bombay(4), Kerala(4), Jharkhand(2) and Gauhati (3).

•           Tenure of 03 Additional Judges tenure was extended - High Court of Calcutta (2) and Chhattisgarh (1).

•           03 Chief Justices were appointed - High Courts of Bombay (2) and Meghalaya (1).

•           01 Chief Justice was transferred from one High Court to another.

•           07 Judges of High Courts were transferred from one High Court to another.

 

2.         E-Courts Mission Mode Project and Digitisation initiatives

 

i.          Introduction:

As part of the National eGovernance Plan, the e Court project is an integrated Mission Mode Project under implementation since 2007 for the 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” The e-Court Integrated Mission Mode Project was launched with the objective of improving access to justice using technology.  Under this project, 16,845 courts, across the country, have been computerised, so far with software compatibility and interoperability.

 

ii.         Wide Area Network (WAN) Connectivity:

            Under the Wide Area Network (WAN) Project under eCourts project is aimed at connecting all District and Subordinate court complexes, spread across the country using various technologies like OFC, RF, VSAT. So far, 2931 sites (98%) have been commissioned out of 2992 sites with 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps bandwidth speed.  This forms the backbone for the eCourts project ensuring data connectivity in courts across the length and breadth of the country. A committee has been set up by the DoJ to develop a SOP for lodging complaints and capacity upgradation of the WAN bandwidth to ensure seamless data transmission in view of the enhanced load during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

iii.        National Judicial Data Grid:

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.  Every single case has been provided a Unique Identification code which is called CNR number and QR Code. This has led to the development of National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) as a new communication pipeline for judicial data transmission.

 

Using NJDG developed under the eCourts Project, with elastic search technology, lawyers and litigants can today access case status information of 17.55crore cases and more than 13.16 crore orders/judgments.  The portal also provides information related to details of court registration, cause list, daily orders and final judgements. Access has now been provided to data of all High Courts and District Courts in the country. This is an important tool to identify, manage and reduce case pendency.  Recently a feature for showing the reason for delay in disposal of the case has been added. In consonance with the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) announced by the Government of India, Open Application Programming Interface (API) has been provided to the Central & State Government to allow easy access to the NJDG data using a departmental ID and access key. This will allow the institutional litigants to access the NJDG data for their evaluation and monitoring purposes.

iv.        Virtual Courts:

Nine virtual Courts have been set up at Delhi (2 courts), Faridabad (Haryana), Pune & Nagpur (Maharashtra) Kochi (Kerala), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Gauhati (Assam) and Bengaluru (Karnataka) to try traffic offences.  The concept is aimed at reducing the footfalls in the court by eliminating the presence of the violator or advocate in the court.  Virtual court can be managed by a virtual judge (which is not a person but an algorithm) whose jurisdiction can be extended to the entire state and working hours can be 24X7. As on08.12.2020, these courts have handled 35,02,896 cases and realised Rs.130.72 Cr in fines. In November 2020, Delhi High Court has issued “Digital NI Act Courts-Project Implementation Guidelines” and operationalization is expected soon to have Virtual Courts dealing with Negotiate Instruments Act cases. Besides being environmentally friendly as cases are adjudicated in a paperless manner, it has led to saving of judicial manpower and added to convenience of citizens.

v.         Video Conferencing:

Video conferencing emerged as the mainstay of the Courts during the Covid lockdown period as physical hearings and normal court proceedings in the congregational mode were not possible.  Since, Covid lockdown started, the District courts heard 35,93,831 cases while the High Court heard 13,74,048 cases (totalling to 49.67 lakh) till 28.10.2020 using video conferencing only. The Supreme Court had nearly30,000 hearings during the lockdown period. To bring about uniformity and standardization in the conduct of VC, an overarching order was passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 6th April 2020 which gave legal sanctity and validity to the court hearings done through VC. Further, VC rules were framed by a 5 judge committee which was circulated to all the HCs for adoption after local contextualization.  So far, the VC rules have been adopted by 12 HCs.   An upgraded cloud-based VC infrastructure with latest features and robust security is also being developed by the NIC.   As part of the “AtmaNirbhar App Challenge” some Indian made Video Conferencing Apps have also been shortlisted and undergoing tests for use as Video Conferencing platforms.  One video conference equipment each has been provided to all Court Complexes including Taluk level courts and additionally funds have been sanctioned for additional VC equipment for 14,443 court rooms.VC facilities are already enabled between 3240 court complexes and corresponding 1272 jails.

Live Streaming of video conferencing of proceedings has also been started in Kerala, Bombay and Delhi thus allowing media and other interested persons to join the proceedings.  The eCommittee of the Supreme Court has set up a Committee to draw SOP for Live Streaming. Live streaming of cases has been begun in Gujarat HC experimentally as a pilot project.   A Working Group of Judges and domain experts has also been set up for preparing a SOP for scanning, storage, retrieval and preservation of legacy data of courts.

vi.        E filing:

An e filing system (version 1.0) has been rolled out for the electronic filing of legal papers. This allows the lawyers to access and upload documents related to the cases from any location 24X7 which makes coming to the court for filing of papers unnecessary.  Further the details of the case entered in the efiling application are consumed in the CIS software and hence chances of mistakes are minimized. An upgraded version 2.0 & 3.0 have also been prepared which are more user friendly and with upgraded features like Advocates portfolio, Advocate clerk entry module, calendar and integration with social media platforms which is currently undergoing test. Draft e Filing rules have been formulated and circulated to the HCs for adoption. Supreme Court of India has also developed upgraded eFiling version 3.0 which has now been introduced on a pilot basis and undergoing final security audit.  There has been a surge in the number of lawyers and litigants registering for the e filing during the COVID-19 pandemic. To promote e filing, all Central & State Government departments including the PSUs have been requested to use e filing in all commercial disputes coming up in the commercial courts.

E SewaKendras have been rolled out to bridge the digital divide by providing e filing services to lawyers and litigants. Currently covering all High Courts and one District court as pilot project, it is being expanded to cover all court complexes. E SewaKendras have been set up at the entry point of the court complexes with the intention of facilitating the lawyer or litigant who needs any kind of assistance ranging from information to facilitation and e filing.

vii.       E Payments:

e-Filing of cases requires facilities for ePayments of Court Fees which includes court fees, fines and penalties which are directly payable to the Consolidated Fund.     e-Filing of cases requires facilities for ePayments of court fees.  Online payment of court fees, fines, penalties and judicial deposits has been initiated through https://pay.ecourts.gov.in. Introduction of electronic collection of court fees and other civil payments requires appropriate amendments in the existing Court Fees Act enacted by the various State Governments besides opening a bank account in a Nationalized Bank or in other bank suitable to receive, hold and disburse such payments electronically.  21 States have already amended the Court Fees Act.

viii.      E Court Services:

As part of eCourt 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 (1,42,000 SMS sent daily), Email (2,00,000 sent daily), multilingual and tactile eCourts services Portal (25 lakh  hits daily), JSC (Judicial Service centres) and Info Kiosks.  On the National eTaal, the eCourts services portal has recorded 224.41 Crore transactions during the year making it the lead Mission Mode Project.  In addition, Electronic Case Management Tools (ECMT) have been created with Mobile App for lawyers (with 49.50 Lakh Downloads till date) and JustIS app for judges (14,000 downloads till date).

ix.        National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes:

National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes (NSTEP) has been launched for technology enabled process serving and issuing of summons. A GPS enabled device is given to the Bailiff for the service of summons leading to greater transparency and speedy delivery of processes. It provides real time status update of service of summons besides tracking of geographical coordinates of the process server at the time of serving.

x.         Covid-19 Software Patch:

A new software patch and court user manual for COVID-19 management has also been developed.  This tool will help in smart scheduling of cases thereby enabling judicial officers to retain urgent cases and adjourn cases not urgent on cause list.   A user manual for this patch has also been issued for the ease of the stakeholders.

xi.        Justice Clocks:

To make effective use of database created through National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) and to make the information available to public, LED Display Message Sign Board System called Justice Clocks have been installed in 18 High Courts.  The purpose of Justice Clock is to bring awareness to the public about justice sector, advertising the various schemes of the department and to give status of various fields to the public.

xii.       IEC Campaign:

A website has been launched exclusively for the e-Committee. This website disseminates the e-Courts Project related information to all stakeholders.  Provision has been made for the High Courts to upload their achievements and their best practices.  The e committee website has also been linked to the website of the DoJ. 

At present, the District Court websites are functioning using the Drupal framework which was created more than 5 years back. The Drupal infrastructure is being upgraded with the latest S3waaS framework which has been created using FOSS technologies by the NIC.

Towards creating awareness and familiarization of e-Filing amongst lawyers, Webinars on e-Filing for Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra and Delhi Bar Council was organized during June 2020 which had more than 19000 viewers. A Manual on e-Filing entitled as “Step by Step Guide for e-Filing” has been prepared and made available on the e-Filing portal, in both English and Hindi, for use of advocates and litigants.  It has also been released in 11 regional languages. A Brochure in English and Hindi on “How to register for e-Filing” has been made available on the e-Filing portal for the use of lawyers. It has also been released in 12 regional languages.  As part of awareness campaign, a YouTube Channel has been created in the name of eCourts Services where video tutorials on e-Filing have been made available for larger outreach to stakeholders. 12 help videos on e-Filing in 7 regional languages apart from Hindi and English was prepared and circulated for the advocates as part of awareness raising programme. The said videos are available in the e filing portal help desk and also in the social media through the eCommittee YouTube channel.  To conduct awareness programme for advocates on efiling and ECMT tools under eCourt Services, training of trainers has already been undertaken by eCommittee of the Supreme Court at the National and State level.  25 Master Trainers have been trained in each High Court who in turn have already trained 461 Master Trainers across the country.  These, 461 Master Trainers have in turn imparted training on eCourt Services and efiling in each district of the country for advocates in their regional languages and also identified Master Trainer Advocates.

xiii.      Vision Document for eCourt Phase-III:

A Committee has been constituted for ideating on the Vision Document for Phase III of the e-Courts project which includes domain experts besides Judiciary and Technical members.

3.         Implementation of reforms to improve Enforcing Contracts Regime

•           In order to create an environment conducive for investment and business, continued efforts have been made by implementing reforms to enable expeditious enforcement of contracts to improved Ease of Doing Business various reforms have been under taken by Department of Justice in coordination with eCommittee of Supreme Court of India and High Courts of Delhi and Mumbai.

•           22 Dedicated Commercial courts in Delhi and 4 dedicated commercial courts in Mumbai are fully operational. 22nd Commercial Court in Delhi High Court has become functional from 07.09.2020.  2 Dedicated Commercial Courts each in Bengaluru and Kolkata are operational. Karnataka High Court has notified 7 more Dedicated Commercial Courts to be set up in Bengaluru and Calcutta High Court has notified 2 more Dedicated Commercial Courts to be set up in Kolkata.  Delhi High Court has set up Commercial Benches in Commercial Division (original side) and Appellate level to hear high value commercial cases above Rs. 500 crores. Designated Special Courts for Infrastructure projects have been set up in 22 High Courts. Allahabad High Court, Calcutta High Court, Karnataka High Court and Madhya Pradesh High Court have allocated dedicated days in a week for hearing Specific Relief Act matters.

•           E-filing in Dedicated Commercial Courts of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru has been operationalized.  Karnataka and Delhi Governments have made e-filing mandatory for govt litigation in commercial cases.  All Central Government Departments are to follow E-filing in commercial litigation matters.   E-filing Version 3.0 has been finalized and pilot project successfully conducted in 5 districts of Maharashtra. The national wide roll out of E-Filing Version 3.0 is planned in 2021.

•           Online course on Business and Commercial Litigation was launched by National Law University, Delhi in collaboration with Department of Justice on 15.09.2020 and the first batch has commenced from 21 November 2020.

•           Eight (8) Electronic Case management tools for Judges and seven (7) Electronic Case management tools for advocates have been integrated in one single platform  and the same are available on eCourt Services portal and mobile app.  Automatic and random allocation of commercial cases without human intervention in dedicated commercial courts of Delhi and Mumbai has been implemented.

•           Regular publishing and submission of data regarding commercial courts functioning in standard formats have been introduced by way of Commercial Courts (Statistical Data) Amendment Rules, 2020 and Commercial Courts (Pre-Institution Mediation and Settlement) Amendment Rules, 2020 respectively.

•           On the initiative of Department of Justice and eCommittee of Supreme Court for linkage of property registration with court proceedings, Department of Land Resources has constituted a committee to examine implementation of the same by drafting Standard Operating Procedures(SoPs) and to launch pilot project. Committee on Simplification of Rules has been set up which is examining reduction of Pre-Institution Mediation and Settlement(PIMS) mediation fee has been constituted to reduce the compliance burden on litigants and advocates. A Committee on  eSummons has been formed to discuss and implement seamless online summoning through e-mail and sms alert by obtaining database of companies.  A Committee has been formed comprising of representatives from eCommittee of Supreme Courts, High Courts of Delhi, Bombay, Bengaluru, Calcutta, DoLA and DoJ on Simplifications of Rules and Forms under Commercial Courts Act.

•           Online meeting was Law Firms on Reforms to be introduced in Improving the Enforcing Contracts regime under EoDB. Three Sub Committees have been formed to give suggestions on (i) Time standards and delay (ii) Pre-Institution Mediation & Settlement and (iii) eCourt services. Department of Justice in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and ASSOCHAM organized 4 Webinars on Enforcing Contracts on key measures undertaken to improve India’s ranking in Ease of Doing Business such as eCourts, digitization of court procedures and promotion of ADR mechanism with lawyers and corporate firms. Two Webinars were organized in association with eCommittee, Supreme Court of India on E-filing and Electronic Case Management Tools provided in eCourt service portal and eCourt service app for Delhi and Mumbai lawyers.

 

4.  Tele-Law

 

This is a unique digital initiative of the Government of India, launched in April, 2017, which primarily aims to address the cases at pre-litigation stage. It seeks to provide free legal advice to the marginalized sections of the society.  Legal advice is provided at the Common Service Centres (CSCs), through Video Conferencing/Telephone facility available at the CSCs, by Panel Lawyers. Para Legal Volunteers are engaged to facilitate beneficiaries to approach the CSCs to register their cases for seeking advice.

It is currently operational in 29860 CSCs covering 285 districts across 29 States/UT in the country including 115 Aspirational Districts. A Tele-law dashboard (http://www.tele-law.in/) provides real-time data on number of cases registered & advice enabled. It is available in 22 languages. Since 2017, advice has been enabled for 4,61,782 cases. This year, advice has been given for 2,66,089 cases which includes 71,394 women, 71,398 Scheduled Caste, 54,536 Scheduled Tribe and 88,109 OBC beneficiaries. During the Covid-19 lockdown period this program has proved its immense potential, strength and utility for the citizen in these trying circumstances. Advice related to Covid-19 pandemic has been rendered to many beneficiaries across the country.

Radio jingle developed for the promotion of the programme in 22 languages was aired through All India Radio in all the 285 Districts for one month during September 2020. E-booklet on Tele-Law titled “Voices of the Beneficiaries”, a collection of real life stories and benefits received under the Tele-Law programme has been released and uploaded on DoJ and Tele-Law website. Tele-Law Data has also been placed on Prayas Dashboard that facilitates review of ongoing flagship programmes and other important initiatives of the Government of India for monitoring by PMO.

5.   Nyaya Bandhu (Pro Bono Legal Services)

This programme aims to provide free legal assistance and counsel to the persons eligible under section 12 of Legal Service Authorities Act, 1987. This service is provided by advocates who are registered with DoJ to volunteer their time and services for representing cases of registered applicants/litigants.2243 lawyers have registered and 875 cases have been assigned so far under this programme. The list of registered Nyaya Bandhu advocates is available at https://probono-doj.in/list-of-advocates.html.           

            Nyaya Bandu mobile app is available on Andorid, iOS and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s platform UMANG – making its services available to their more than 2.0 Cr registered users.In order to institutionalize the pro bono legal framework in the country, Pro Bono Club Scheme in Law schools has been launched. The scheme aims to in still in the young minds an understanding and philosophy on Pro bono and to assist the registered Pro Bono advocates in researching and legal drafting. 17 Law Schools have accepted the proposal. Details are available on http://www.probono-doj.in/list-of-law-schools.html.  Further, in order to ensure availability of steady stream of pro bono lawyers at the State level, Registrar Generals of High Courts have been approached to enlist Advocates under Nyaya Bandhu Panel who are willing to contribute as Pro Bono.

            In order to facilitate these new initiatives, a separate module has been created for Pro Bono Club Scheme for law schools and Nyaya Bandhu Panels for the High Courts in the home page of Nyaya Bandhu web portal (www.probono-doj.in).  These modules have provision of dashboard, registration forms, activity reporting, reports and queries, success stories, profile settings etc.

DoJ has also sought the cooperation of High Courts and State Bar Councils in publicizing the Nyaya Bandhu initiative through distribution of Nyaya Bandhu IEC materials within their networks. Nearly 7.2 lakh NyayaBandhu pamphlets in 18 regional languages have been dispatched to High Courts and  Bar Councils across the country.

 

6.  Access to Justice for the North East and Jammu & Kashmir

 

The “Access to Justice – North Eastern States and Jammu & Kashmir” programme is being implemented in eight states of North East (including Sikkim) and in UT of Jammu & Kashmir  since 2012. The objective of the programme is to create legal awareness, improve legal literacy and address the legal needs of the marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society like women, children, SCs and STs.

During the year following activities have been successfully completed.

            Arunachal Pradesh:

In partnership with Arunachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (APSLSA), 10 Legal Aid Clinics (LACs) have been established in ten district headquarters. Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) associated with LACs conducted a survey to understand the legal awareness gaps among people. One lakh copies of IEC materials on laws and government schemes printed and disseminated. Door to door legal awareness campaign reached out to 6643 people in 39 villages.

APSLSA organized two legal literacy-cum training programmes on “synergy between customary practices and formal laws”. 225 Gaon Buras and Gaon Buries trained and sensitized in these trainings. Online State Level Consultative meeting was also organized for administrative officials and Gaon Buras and Buris from 14 districts.

            Manipur:

State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD), Manipur completed 50 training programmes on rights and laws for the Panchayati Raj functionaries which benefitted 1632 functionaries. SIRD also completed translation of IEC material in six local dialects.

            Meghalaya:

Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) organised legal awareness campaign on Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. One university and 8 colleges participated in the campaign and it reached out to 3000 students.

            UT of Jammu & Kashmir:

Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services Authority (JKSLSA) has established 27 Legal Aid Clinics during the year. The Para Legal Volunteers engaged in these LACs organised series of Legal Awareness Programs benefitting nearly 6000 people.

            Assam & Sikkim:

State Resource Center (SRC), Assam, organized 78 Interactive Awareness Meetings in 4 districts of Assam and in West Sikkim district of Sikkim. Under this project 46,321 people have been benefited by various activities.

7.  National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)           

            NALSA strengthened the National Legal Aid Helpline (15100) and the State Legal Aid Helpline numbers for facilitating easy accessibility of legal aid institutions to the common people. Steps were also been taken to use social media tools including radio for educating people about their rights and entitlements. Handbook of formats was prepared and launched in June 2020 for bringing in uniformity in documentation and data collection for better and quality management of legal services by Legal Services Authorities.

            NALSA in collaboration with the National Commission for Women launched a project, “Empowering Women through Legal Awareness” on 15th of August, 2020. Under the Project, legal literacy programmes for women have been carried out in 285 districts in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. A “Handbook on laws relating to Women” was also released which will serve as a toolkit for the resource persons.           

Organised by Legal Services Authorities, LokAdalats (State as well as National) are an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mode wherein pre-litigation and pending cases in the courts are disposed on the basis of amicable settlement without any expense on the part of litigants. It is free of cost and expeditious method of bringing litigating parties on the same side and saving them from the rigours of trial under adversarial system of adjudication which is generally perceived to be time consuming, complex and costly.      In the period of turbulence caused by the pandemic, Legal Services Authorities creatively adapted to the new normal and moved LokAdalat to the virtual platform. Online LokAdalat popularly known as e-LokAdalat are also cost effective as it eliminates the need for organisational expenses. So far 33eLokAdalats have been organized in 17 States wherein 5.41 lakh cases were taken up and 3.00 lakh cases disposed of resulting in settlement of Rs2918.00 cr.

8.         Setting up of fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs)

As safety of women and children is a matter of paramount concern the Department of Justice is implementing a Scheme for setting up of 1023 FTSCs across the country for expeditious trial and disposal of pending cases related to rape and POCSO Act.  Out of total 1023 FTSCs including 389 exclusive POCSO courts to be set up under the scheme, 28 States/UTs have identified 823 FTSCs including 363 exclusive POCSO courts. 597 FTSCS with 321 exclusive POCSO courts have been made operational till date.

9.         Implementation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary and the Scheme of operationalization of Gram Nyayalayas :

Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary aims to increase the availability of suitable number of Court Halls and Residential Accommodations for Judges / Judicial Officers of District and Subordinate Courts all over the country including at District, Sub-District, Taluka, Tehsil and Gram Panchayat and Village levels. This will help in improving the functioning and performance of the Judiciary across the country in reaching out to every citizen.

The purpose of Scheme of operationalization of Gram Nyayalayas is to provide access to justice for the people belonging to marginalized section of the society thereby reducing their dependence on Extra- judicial systems and further to reduce the workload of the higher courts. The object of the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008, is “to provide for the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the grass root level for the purpose of providing access to justice to citizens at their doorstep and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of social, economic or other disabilities.”

•           A sum of Rs. 7975.81 crore has been sanctioned since the inception of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for development of infrastructure facilities for judiciary of which Rs. 4531.50 crore since 2014-15 which is around 56.82% of the total release under the Scheme. During the current financial year 2020-2021 a sum of Rs. 754.00 crore has been allocated of which a sum of Rs. 243.56 crore has been sanctioned.  In the financial year 2019-20, an amount of Rs. 982 crores was released to the States.

•           As per the information made available by the High Courts, there are 19,996 court halls available which has been significantly increased as compared to the 15,818 available court halls in 2014.  As far as the Residential Units are concerned 17,752 Residential units available against the current working strength of 19,366 Judges/Judicial Officers. There were 10,211 Residential Units available in 2014. In addition, 2,836 court halls and 1,858 residential units are currently under construction.

•           Launch of Nyaya Vikas 2.0: Nyaya Vikas as an online tool for monitoring of construction projects was launched by Minister of Law & Justice on 11th June, 2018.  The Nyaya Vikas web portal and mobile app have been upgraded and version 2.0 has been made available for public online from 1st April, 2020 with enhanced capabilities and functionalities, which has been developed based on the feedback from different State Users, with the assistance of NRSC, ISRO.

•           Rs.3.78 crore in the financial year 2020-21 of our BE of 8.00 crores has been released upto 31.10.2020for the Scheme for establishing and operating Gram Nyayalayas.    Rs. 8 crores was released during the financial year 2019-20 to the States. 12 states have notified 402 Gram Nyayalayas and out of them 225 have been operationalized till 30 November 2020.

10.  Citizens’ Duties Awareness Programme

            For this purpose, in its responsibility as the nodal coordinating department, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice has undertaken specific concerted initiatives to create awareness for organizing year long activities and programmes related to Citizens’ Duties including Fundamental Duties.  Launched on 26th November 2019, this program has an outreach of more than 48.6 Cr citizens till date. Being implemented by all Departments/ Ministries of Government of India, States/UTs, Judiciary, NSS/NYK Volunteers, as well as with active participation from Indian citizens across India and NRIs overseas, this program has leveraged technological tools including conduct of Online Preamble Reading (21.86 lakh), Online Pledge taking (1.90 lakh), Webinars (10,600), Special E-tickets (14.5 Cr), Social Media (10.95 Cr) amongst many others. Never before in the history of Independent India, has such an awareness programme been undertaken on such a scale, with this kind of unprecedented impact. More than 86, Ministries/ Departments have undertaken year-long activities under CDAP; 31 lakh elected representatives of Gram Panchayats undertook promotional activities, and 14,500 Special Gram Sabhas have been held to promote awareness about the Indian Constitution & Fundamental Duties.

            DoJ, in collaboration with National Book Trust, put up a stall at the Delhi World Book Fair to reach common citizens through activities such as preamble reading, quiz competitions, signing of preamble wall, garnering a strong response. DoJ also launched a grass-root campaign in 1000 digital villages under the CSC network, covering 310 districts across 16 states. The CDAP-Digital Village programme has reached out to more than 4,84,000 villagers as on date.

            There has also been great emphasis on linking Citizens’ Duties to the abatement and containment of Corona virus in the country. As such, DOJ released a short film on linking citizens’ duties to the abatement of Covid-19 in association with MyGov and more than 1 lakh online pledges were signed to render duty to fight Corona on www.mygov.in. Further, over 19 lakh NSS volunteers and 720 Programme Officers have been engaged in performing voluntary activities for Covid-19.  15th August 2020 was commemorated through a Webinar on Citizens’ Duties during COVID-19 conducted by DoJ in association with ASSOCHAM with more than 500 attendees. Eminent Industrialists and Business Leaders from the Corporate Sector were invited as Speakers to reflect on the corporate sector’s duties and responsibilities during COVID-19.

DoJ collaborated with Atal Innovation Mission under the NitiAayog to exhort more than 20 lakh students registered under the Programme to develop scientific temper and innovation, and strive for excellence in all spheres of life. An online quiz competition on ‘Constitution of India & Fundamental Duties’ from 29.09.2020 to 01.10.2020 through MyGov in which over 49,000 people participated. A webinar on Fundamental Duties was organized in collaboration with NITI AAYOG/ Atal Innovation Mission as part of their “ATL Webinar Series” on Gandhi Jayanti.

            DoJ leveraged all digital tools at its disposal to create a large pool of Promotional tools such as Brochure, Flyers, Posters, Standees, Quiz Banks, Preamble Walls for instilling the sense of responsibility towards Constitution and Fundamental Duties among the citizens.

11.       Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Morocco

A Memorandum of Understanding on Judicial Sector Co-operation was signed between Supreme Court of India and Supreme Council of the Judicial Power of the Kingdom of Morocco on 24.07.2020 in Rabat, to allow both parties to exchange and benefit from their experiences and expertise in the field of computer and digital technologies.

12.       Second National Judicial Pay Commission (SNJPC)

The Supreme Court of India vide its order dated 09.05.2017 in Writ Petition No. 643/2015 directed to appoint a Judicial Pay Commission to review the pay scales, emoluments and service conditions of the Judicial Officers of Subordinate Judiciary in India. The purpose is to over the years to improve the service conditions of subordinate judicial officers. Accordingly, Second National Judicial Pay commission has been established under the Chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) P.V. Reddi of the Supreme Court. In February 2020 SNJPC submitted its final report to Supreme Court of India and also provided a copy of report to Department of Justice. On 28.02.2020 Supreme Court considered the report and directed the State Governments and UTs including Department of Justice to file their responses with respect to each recommendation, if any.  The Department of Justice filed its response in June 2020.

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Monika



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