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India's national capital gets first e-courtroom

16 December 2009

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The High Court in the Indian capital has gone eco-friendly by replacing paper files with a touchscreen handbook and an LCD screen. The initiative, first-of-its-kind, has successfully digitised and certified several documents within few hours, and is also considering e-recording of witness statements to avoid procedural delays.

New Delhi: With gavel-hammering judges moving over to touchscreen handbooks, Delhi high court created history on Tuesday by showcasing the first e-courtroom in the country.

Image credits: Google/ Delhi High Court

The court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat looked unlike any other courtroom, with a sleek, wide LCD screen on the wall and a touchscreen handbook replacing the bulky files as the HC launched its first eco-friendly initiative to go paperless and also bring about speedy justice.

Cumbersome paperwork has been replaced by digitalised files and judges can directly access them on a display monitor. With a target of digitalising all documents within two years, the court has launched a pilot project which went on smoothly on the first day.

Though 33 matters were listed for the day, around 18 cases were disposed of within the first two hours, which on a routine basis take the entire day. The judge used his special LCD touchscreen to make corrections and his digital signature to certify the copy.

The lawyers gave the concept a thumbs-up, saying there were no glitches during the proceedings. ‘‘We will be able to get rid of our bulky files. Now we have to carry only a USB device or CD of our case, which is much easier,’’ said Swagat Sharma, a lawyer who appeared in the e-court.

Some counsel, however, still preferred to use their paper files, an option given to them for the time being to enable them to adjust to accessing case files from their laptops.

The court has already digitalised around 5.5 crore papers pertaining to various cases upto 2007. It is also considering recording the statement of witnesses through video-conferencing to avoid procedural delays.

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