Editorial

In-law, outlaw and e-law!

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Recently, I was talking to a Malaysian, who was proudly explaining me that he can pay his driving overspeeding charges on the net. He might be located anywhere in the world and still could pay these charges online. I just thought of a similar situation in India where for paying a small fine of Rupees 1,000 one has to pay touts something around Rupees 5,000! Finding one’s way out of the complex maze of the Indian Police and legal system can be very painful to a common citizen in India!

It is considered a curse in India to be dealing with a lawyer. Dealing with the Indian legal system is a cumbersome process and getting one’s case for hearing itself may take decades. Of course, people with money have their ways of finding through the Indian legal maze, but only at the expense of the poor who have to spend huge money in fighting litigation.

If there is one area, in my opinion, which needed e-Governance systems to be implemented yesterday in South Asia, it is the Judiciary. And if there is one area, which is most ignored in e-Governance implementation, it is the Judiciary. The reason for this perhaps maybe because the judicial machinery of government mostly works independent of the majority of the other ministries and there are only few departments, which will dare to make any comment on law department let alone taking up the role of ‘re-engineering’ processes of the judiciary.

In this situation, it comes a welcome relief that the starting steps in this regard have been taken up by India. But, having seen the fate of many e-Government projects, which have promised the moon and not even delivered the earth, one can only have a cautious optimism on this initiative. Unless the project is able to find champions at the top levels in the judicial and law-making system of the country, achieving any results will remain a mirage.

The situation on judicial nightmares is more or less similar in many South Asian countries and perhaps somewhat better in some South East Asian ones. Let’s hope that we can get inspired from the best practices of our neighbours and implement e-Judiciary systems in the right earnest!

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