J20 summit | CJI advocates technology in judiciary, says SC has heard over 7.5 Lakh cases through VC

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Wednesday said the Supreme Court has heard over 7,50,000 cases through video conferencing and over 1,50,000 cases have been filed online as technology has renegotiated the relationship between law and enforcement agencies. In his speech at the J20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro on ‘Digital Transformation and Using Technology to Increase Judicial Efficiency’, the CJI referred to India’s achievements and said, “Virtual hearings have democratized access to the Supreme Court. ”

J20 is a summit of the heads of the supreme courts or constitutional courts of the G20 member states and is organized by the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court in light of this year’s Brazilian presidency of the G20.

The CJI said the Supreme Court of India Case Management System was developed based on free and open source software (FOSS) and is “the largest case management system in the world”.

Justice Chandrachud also said that even after the pandemic, hybrid hearings remain a feature of Indian courts, and the virtual hearings have opened up the space for people who face difficulties in physically appearing in court.

“Over 7,50,000 cases have been heard through video conferencing. The proceedings of important constitutional cases at the Supreme Court are streamed live on the YouTube channel, bringing constitutional deliberations to the homes and hearts of all citizens. The Supreme Court of India today is almost completely paperless, with digitized and optical character recognition of paper books,” he said.

“Technology has renegotiated our relationship with the law and the institutions that enforce it,” Chandrachud said, adding: “After all, judges are perhaps the only public officials who sit on an elevated platform, punishing for contempt and make important decisions. about the lives of others in discreet private rooms, without fear of electoral losses.” He said the Supreme Court used software – SUVAS (Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software) – to translate judgments into 16 regional languages.

”To date, more than 36,000 cases have been translated. There is also live streaming and YouTube recordings of important constitutional cases that provide full context. Easy access to the judgments of the Supreme Court is made possible through Digital SCR (Supreme Court Records), where more than 30,000 old judgments are available free of cost,” the CJI said.

Noting that the judges are “neither princes nor sovereigns above the demands of explicability”, he said the judiciary is the service provider and enabler of the rights-affirming societies.

Chandrachud said there are two crucial areas where digitalization and technology can help the judiciary create better justice delivery mechanisms. The first is streamlining the pre-decision processes and the other is the post-decision measures that improve access to and involvement in the decision itself.

“Indian courts’ introduction to advances in information technology began in 2007 with the e-Courts project – a nationwide project to improve judicial efficiency and create citizen-centric justice services. The front desk experience of approaching the court has completely changed.

“We now have the ability to file cases with the click of a button through our e-filing platform. So far, over 1,50,000 e-filings have been made in the Supreme Court alone, with a consistent increase in the share of e-filings compared to physical filings,” he said.

The Supreme Court is monitoring judicial data across the country in real time by using the National Judicial Data Grid and iJuris – information sharing platforms for the district-level judiciary, the CJI said.

Regarding the use of technology as “post-decisional measures”, he said that once a decision has been made, it should be quickly uploaded onto the court’s website so that the parties can implement it or explore further legal remedies.

Speaking on the issue of ‘misinformation’ about the judicial hearings, the CJI said: “We believe that sunshine is the best disinfectant, and accurate and accessible information is an antidote to misinformation.” “In India, it is quite common for judges to get involved with a lawyer and play devil’s advocate to get their best answer. However, this is sometimes misunderstood as the court’s opinion and misleading excerpts of the proceedings circulate on the Internet.

“Fortunately, we have a robust network of legal journalists reporting live on the proceedings and helping to dispel misinformation,” Chandrachud added.

He also spoke about the digital divide and representational asymmetry between contesting parties and locations with low connectivity.

Calling them ‘bottlenecks’, the CJI said, ‘We have to address this. When we talk about judicial efficiency, we must look beyond the efficiency of the judge and think of a holistic judicial process. Efficiency lies not only in the outcomes, but also in these processes that must ensure a free and fair hearing.”