Reiterating his 2011 acronym about IT’s significance “IT + IT = IT (Information Technology + Indian Talent = India Tomorrow)”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the judiciary to make a shift to digital technology, saying it is effective, easy, economical and environment-friendly.
The Prime Minister had similarly highlighted the need and significance of IT in 2011 while attending the Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd.’s eIndia 2011 conference as the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
On the occasion, Modi, as the then Gujarat chief minister, had said: “Gujarat ushered in transparency and accountability in governance through use of Information Technology. When technology becomes a part of your life, it starts driving you. The person, who understands this, can bring change…I believe that IT+IT=IT i.e. Indian talent + Information technology = India Tomorrow. It is my firm belief that our talent will build the future of India with the help of IT.”
(For full speech of 2011 please log on to: http://eindia.eletsonline.com)
On Wednesday, Modi was speaking at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, as the Supreme Court turned a new chapter in the digital age by launching a computerised case management system — SC Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) which will enable e-filing of cases.
The new system converts and stores in digital format all records filed in the Supreme Court, enabling litigants to track their cases online. Lauding the apex court on achieving this historic milestone, Modi said: “To make new India, change is essential.”
Linking the development with the Government’s big push to realise the Digital India dream, the Prime Minister urged the judiciary to change its mindset and make a shift to digital technology.
Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, on the occasion, said the new system would usher in transparency, ensure a paperless judicial regime and prevent chances of manipulation of records.
At present, advocates in the Supreme Court are allowed to e-file their cases. But the new system will be far different, the CJI explained stating that the litigant would be required to file only the “grounds of appeal” against the High Court order and the case number. The remaining documents (High Court judgment, affidavits filed by either parties) would get electronically transferred to the Supreme Court.
“This system cannot be breached. A system where the documents cannot be manipulated, a system where the records are there for keeps,” The Pioneer quoted the CJI as saying, indicating that the new system will be in place from July 3, the day when the SC will reopen after a summer break.
“I propose to take this system to all the 24 High Courts and then to all the district courts. This means a litigant will file one case only in his lifetime, insofar as the paper book is concerned,” the CJI added.
Besides tracking of a case online, the CJI said, the ICMIS would also allow litigants to calculate the court fees and know the amount to be paid. If there was delay in filing of a case, the new system would show of how many days was the delay and what should be the application.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister appreciated the apex court’s decision to cut short its vacation and work on holidays, saying: “The country is changing. We are working during holidays. Such a move will restore the public’s faith in the judiciary.”
Modi also appealed to the legal fraternity to make the “Pro Bono” electronic interface introduced by the Union Law Ministry a success by registering with it. Referring to the change that the country was witnessing, he said, “On my request, lakhs of citizens gave up their LPG subsidy and gynaecologists agreed to treat poor pregnant women on the ninth of every month.”
He urged the lawyer community to assist the Government’s attempt to provide free and effective legal aid to underprivileged litigants.
Adding another dimension to the need for digitalisation, the Prime Minister said a paperless regime was eco-friendly as it would save millions of litres of water and thousands of trees. This money could, in turn, be used to build homes for the poor and construct new schools.
Speaking during the programme, Supreme Court Judge J Chelameswar, also underlined that every case filed in the SC consumes a huge quantity of paper and “such a step will reduce the damage caused to the environment”.