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2008 Lawasia J. 134 (2008)
Revisiting E-Courts in India: A Bird's Eye View form the Australian Context

handle is hein.journals/lawasiaj9 and id is 140 raw text is: REVISITING E-COURTS IN INDIA:
A BIRD'S EYE VIEW FROM THE AUSTRALIAN CONTEXT
Afroza Begum*
1    INTRODUCTION
With the advent of globalisation and rapid technological advances, India's response to an
electronic court filing system ('e-court') is relatively new. It is only in 2006 that low cost
e-filing has been made available to the public by Indian courts. Although this transition
facilitates a more sophisticated means of conducting court business and promotes public
understanding of judicial proceedings, it has (as elsewhere in the world) caused
significant controversy. Some of the controversy surrounds issues about whether the
existing infrastructure and socio-economic reality of India can support the move towards
electronic courts; whether prevailing laws incorporate an appropriate approach to balance
the right to a fair trial and individual privacy concerns; whether e-filing provides
desirable aids to reflect judicial credence and public confidence in the administration of
justice; and finally, whether e-courts ensure accurate management and reporting of court
records. The article aims to explore some of these issues and in doing so, considers
Australia's experience with e-courts to see if it may provide any insights into India's
contemporary concerns.
2 THE IMPLEMENTATION OF E-COURTS IN INDIA
In an attempt to make justice less expensive and burdensome and consequently more
accessible and speedy, the Supreme Court of India introduced e-filing on 2 October
2006.1 This electronic innovation gained a strong recognition through its subsequent
endorsement in the e-court project approved by the government of India in February
2007.2 As part of this process, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been entrusted
with the responsibility to implement the entire project in three phases which is scheduled
to be completed by February 2009. Hence, the stage is in embryonic form negating the
feasibility of a critical assessment of e-court's credibility and effectiveness in India. No
readily available statistics exist either to show the e-case records dealt with by the
Supreme Court of India.
However, a number of serious concerns have already been raised which fundamentally
relate to the e-readiness of the Indian court system. These include: the lack of appropriate
and adequate information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure; the level
of protection of privacy issues offered by existing legislation for electronically
Professor of Law, American International University, Bangladesh. This paper is an edited version
of a conference paper presented at the Law and Technology Conference in Sydney on 27 June
2008, organised by Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and the Australasian Legal
Information Institute (AustLIl).
'E-Filing in the Supreme Court of India', <www.indg.in/e-governance/ict-in-legal-services/egov-
legal-efilling> at 21 January 2009; 'Revolutionary E-Court Project to be Launched Monday',
India News, 6 July 2007 <www.monstersandcritics.connews/india/news/articleI 326884.php/
Revolutionary_e- court__project to be launchedMonday> at 21 January 2009.
2      Ibid.

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