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Report No. 124

Chapter V

Computer Technology

5.1. While the World and the country is fast moving to the 21 century, computers have invaded all fields of activity, modern technological advances have radically altered the working in offices and new gadgets are available for facilitating the mode and method of work, unfortunately the judiciary has remained far outside the mainstream of life. The High Courts, what to say of subordinate courts, have still typewriters of the Nineteenth Century vintage. Photocopiers are not known to most of the High Courts. Telex availability is nowhere near the scene. Computer has not even entered the Supreme Court.

Only some word processors have recently been put into use. Electric and electronic typewriters are luxuries, still beyond the reach of judicial branch. Accounting is done by manual accounting process. Copies are prepared by beating away at typewriters, the product being more undecipherable than the original. Teleprinters with a court circuit is unknown to the judiciary. Even dicta phones have not made their appearance.

5.2. An institution which of necessity is required to be modern, abreast with thinking all over the world, to be in tune with winds of change can ill-afford to allow the technological revolution to pass by it and remain unaffected. The problem which the administration of justice today is facing and finding it difficult to cope with is the problem of backlog of arrears, delay in disposal of cases, overworked Judges and tools of business of Nineteenth Century. All these again contribute to slow motion approach in hearing of causes, controversies and cases. Situation cam-tot be improved unless modern equipments are made available and advances in the organisation and methods of management are adopted by Courts.

5.3. The Law Commission is of the opinion that every High Court must have computerised system introduced in Registry for keeping a catalogue of pending cases so that the information is available at push button level.

5.4. Every High Court must have computerised library index of its decisions so that any decision on a given point is available forthwith to avoid any conflicting decision unless specifically required for the purpose of overruling it.

5.5. Every High Court must have number of word, processors consistent with its institution, disposal and requirement of retaining records of judgments and all other documents. Each Judge must be provided at his residence a word processor. Every Judge must be provided with a dicta phone machine.

5.6. The record room should be modernised by a computerised micro-filming centre, both to save space, remove dirt and install new method of permanent retention of the important records. There must be sufficient electronic electric typewriters both for the needs of the Judges at the residence and in the office.

5.7. Every High Court must have photo copier machines with such speed as is consistent with the turnout of the work in the High Court so that copies are made available within twenty-four hours after the judgment is signed or the document is ready for zeroxing. In a zerox copy, no time should be spent on comparison because it is an exact photo replica of the original. Copying charges must be computed to reimburse the cost and depreciation and expenditure on the machines over a long term period.

5.8. Every High Court must be connected by telex so that the Apex Court can communicate orders by telex. This would avoid the ugly incident that occurred in the Supreme Court where a bail order was forged in the name of the Supreme Court in favour of an accused. These are minimum requirements to modernise the working in the High Courts and any expenditure on it is a social overhead in a developing country which is founded on the doctrine of rule of law.

The High Court Arrears - A Fresh Look Back

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