Digitization to Crisis-Proof Justice Delivery: Justice Chandrachud

Digitization of courts “will help crisis-proof our justice delivery system and ensure that it is open”, Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud said on Saturday, discussing the ongoing efforts to make courts paperless.

Inaugurating the ‘Paperless District Courts in Odisha’ project, Justice Chandrachud said that “initially it doesn’t seem that difficult to acquaint oneself with the technology” and noted that after the Covid-19 pandemic, his chamber “functions almost completely” without paper and I now A self-confessed tech geek”.

Stating that he encouraged the legal fraternity to participate in training programs conducted across the country to instruct lawyers on the use of technology, the Supreme Court judge added that “one such training program is being conducted for lawyers appearing before the Green Bench,” which he is presiding over.

He added that “today, a ‘green bench’ does not mean a bench that hears environmental cases but a bench that aims to conduct proceedings with zero physical filings, as expected in paperless courts”.

Last week, Justice Chandrachud, while heading a five-judge constitution bench that triggered a dispute between the Center and the Delhi government over control of administrative services in the national capital, said it had decided to remove the physical documents.

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Talking about the benefits of paperless courts, he said they are more cost-effective for litigants, who no longer have to bear the cost of printing case files. “Technology is not just for the elite, it is for all those whose purpose is to deliver justice. Paperless courts will also save lawyers valuable time…in addition, valuable court and office space will no longer be taken up for physical file storage. Case information will now be at the fingertips of lawyers and judges, who can access any part of the case file with a click of the mouse button. The paperless courts initiative is a step towards ensuring that our legal system is more accessible to judges and lawyers with disabilities,” he said.

Justice Chandrachud added that “it is imperative to acknowledge the existence of the digital divide and take steps to bridge this gap. We must and must ensure that digitization of court processes does not in any way inconvenience common citizens.”

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