Kalam: Cut 30 Million Case Arrears To A Third by 2012
New Delhi, Jul 9 (UNI) Launching e-courts in India tonight, President A P J Abdul Kalam gave judges five years ''to bring down the pendency'' to almost a third of some 30 million cases at present.
''Aim of the e-Courts system should be to bring down the pendency,'' Dr Kalam said, hitting a raw nerve that, despite efforts, appears to have become a fact of life.
Among those present were Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Law and Justice Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj and Communication and Information Technology Minister Andimuthu Raja.
Dr Kalam stessed a reduction by more than 60 per cent from the existing 2.5 crore in district courts and from 36 lakh in the high courts and to 10,000 cases from the existing 41,000 cases in the Supreme Court by 2012.
All told, the President would have India's 15,000-odd judicial officers reduce the present 30 million backlog of cases by at least 19.55 million cases in five years.
While at it, Dr Kalam gave judges a glimpse of his vision: ''a citizen files a case for a civil dispute of a piece of land in the e-Court using his or her National ID CARD and... gets a justice within two weeks of time.
''Let me unfold the scenario. A litigant comes with his national ID to the e-Court Service Centre in a District Court with all the documentary evidence which he possesses.
''e-Court Service Centre helps electronically to identify a civil lawyer to present his case. The lawyer files the case with a prescribed format in the e-Court.
''Once the case is filed, the e-Court web service agent crawls across the state and central e-governance grid and collects the relevant land records registry and gets the encumbrance certificate details of the litigants and the defendants.
''If necessary, it also collects the credit history of the parties from the banking grid, criminal record if any from the police grid, litigation records if any from the other courts, property tax and service tax payment data for the particular disputed land from the State e-governance grid, legal heir verification from the Registrar of Deeds and classification and conversion details of the particular land from the district e-governance grid.
''The judicial officer now has the documentary evidence submitted by the litigant and defendant and the certified and authentic documentary evidence collected from various government units which have relevance to this case on the fly in front of him.
''This will enable the judicial officer to apply his or her mind objectively with optimal examination and cross-examination of the witnesses leading to taking a fast decision in the particular case,'' the President said.
Retired Justice G C Bharuka, a key figure in computerisation drive, described how 12,155 customised laptops have reached district and high courts across India and 3,000 trainers are on the move to familiarise judicial officers with the gadgets.
The triple-phase programme to computerise court functions in India is expected to take five years and cost Rs 854 crore.
''The handicaps based on distances would be completely eliminated,'' Justice Bharuka said, adding that ''the days of manipulating documents may be a foregone affair because of online accessibility of all official records.