E-Courts are locations in which matters of law are adjudicated upon with not only the help of qualified judge(s) but also a well developed technological infrastructure. Such a court is designed to allow the people participating in the proceedings as well as stakeholders to operate administrative and procedural aspects of the Court’s function, such as presenting evidence, filing judicial records (electronic court filing), etc in a better and more efficient way.
E-Courts in India were conceptualised on the basis of the ‘National Policy & Action Plan for Implementation of Information & Communication Technology’ (ICT), 2005. Justice Madan Lokur was appointed the Head of this committee. The objective of the e-courts is to provide designated services to litigants, lawyers and judiciary by the computerisation of district and subordinate courts in the country. They have been established in India to make the justice system more affordable and cost effective.
The e-courts Integrated Mission Mode Project (Phase I) was a national project that was implemented in the District and Subordinate Courts of the country. The Government approved computerisation of over 14,000 district and subordinate courts under this project in March 2014 with a total budget of over Rs. 900 crores.
Phase II of the project was approved by the Committee of the Supreme Court in January 2014. Some broad objectives of this are:
- Computerisation of around 8,000 new courts, legal services authority offices, state judicial academies;
- Connecting all the courts in the country to the National Judicial Data Grid through WAN;
- Citizen friendly services like centralised filing centres and touch screen kiosks in court complexes;
- Enhancing ICT enablement through e-filing, e-payment and ease of mobile applications.
India’s first e-court was opened at the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad.
The International Criminal Court is also a good example of an E-Court.