In January 2020 the ideas of virtual courts and online hearings were audacious, they no longer are. The challenges posed by COVID-19 spurred the judiciary to confront and overcome its resistance to radical changes. We’re now at the crossroads where the right technological injection along with reengineering of court processes can realise a future of democratised access to justice.
Draft Vision Document 2020
The vision document aims to build courts that are more inclusive and intuitive, through technology. It envisions building critical digital infrastructure to enable access to the judiciary.
Building courts that are more inclusive and intuitive, through technology
History of Digital Courts in India
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“Considering the pendency of a huge volume of cases, the proposed transparency in the digitisation of courts and establishing virtual courts is prudent.”
What we’re exploring
In April 2021 the eCommittee constituted by the Supreme Court of India released the Draft Vision & Roadmap for Phase III of the eCourts Project. This project essentially outlines the vision and the roadmap for implementation of the guidelines, proposed by the eCommittee, Supreme Court of India. This eCommittee had been constituted by the Supreme Court of India to adopt and apply technology to make the justice delivery system more efficient. Over various phases undertaken since 2004, it undertook measures to digitise the judicial system. It also identified challenges along the way. These challenges are proposed to be overcome through the Phase three recommendations made in the eCourts Project.
This phase envisions a system that promotes access, inclusion, equity and efficiency of courts, while providing a base that other government and non-government institutions can build solutions on top of. The consultation suggests technological interventions that would simplify and make the justice delivery process more
efficient for all stakeholders. Citizen responses were invited to the consultation to understand their views and suggestions for an effective implementation of the tenets prescribed in phase three of the eCourts project.
We’re exploring questions such as how might we design the architecture of the digital platform to ensure it is agile, unified not uniform and context specific? How might we ensure optimal utilization of judicial capabilities and ensure adequate technical competencies in the design and implementation of Phase 3? How might we employ technology in a transformative role by enabling users to perform tasks or deliver certain services that would not have been previously possible? How might we leverage market innovation and capabilities to advance adoption? Using open APIs, a reusable and extensible modular architecture, open and interoperable source codes, how might we design solutions that are evolutionary? We’re building digital courts to be trustworthy, empathetic, sustainable and transparent.
Download the Draft Vision Document
The drafting process of the Vision Document for Phase 3 of the e-courts project included consultations with 14 High Courts, technologists, data scientists, platform architects, administrative officials, and court CPCs and systems officers across the country. The vision document aims to build courts that are more inclusive and intuitive, through technology.
Civis partnered with the sub-committee of experts, of the drafting committee for the Vision Document, to carry out a robust public consultation on this vision document. The three organisations comprising the sub-committee include Agami, DAKSH and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
A Full History of Digital Courts
Public Consultation on the Draft Vision Document for Phase III of the eCourts Project
For the first time in Indian history, the Supreme Court e-Committee, under the leadership of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud opened up its draft Vision Document for digitisation of the courts for public consultations.
The document presents a radical new approach from Phase I & II. At the heart of which is the creation of an open digital infrastructure that allows for solutions to continuously emerge and evolve from the ecosystem: including private enterprises, PSU’s, tribunals, etc. In addition, it prescribes a platform architecture that will allow for the design and building of an open and collaborative digital infrastructure within which the judicial system ‘talks’ to other institutions such as the police, prisons and ADR institutions.
Further, the document describes key milestones to achieving these goals such as putting in place data and technology standards, specifications and protocols and open APIs along with strong monitoring and evaluation frameworks. With a view to solving the implementation deficit, the draft also discusses a comprehensive set of principles to handle the transition to new systems across technology, human resources, procurement and institutions. The draft also looks at how implementation can be sequentially executed and what monitoring and evaluation processes can be put in place to assess the adoption and impact of the platform.
Agami partnered with CIVIS to create a tool to source feedback on the draft Vision Document. Please click here to review a summary of the Vision Document in English or Hindi
Phase 3 and the Supreme Court E-Committee
In June 2020, Agami along with Daksh and Vidhi accepted the invitation to be part of the Supreme Court E-Committee as experts to envision and implement the digital courts initiative.
The drafting process of the Vision Document for Phase 3 of the e-courts project included consultations with 14 High Courts, technologists, data scientists, platform architects, administrative officials, and court CPCs and systems officers across the country.
In May 2020, through a collaborative effort we anchored with CLPG, CAM, NIPFP, CSJ, Daksh and Vidhi we offered a roadmap of how to realise the concept of digital courts to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. We charted a path to digitisation, analysing the different roadblocks that may arise along the way and offered possible methods of overcoming them.