The union budget for 2023-24 presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has allocated a substantial Rs 7,000 crore for phase III of the e-courts project that aims at using technological solutions to reduce the pendency of cases and make justice more accessible to the common man.
“For efficient administration of justice, Phase III of e-courts project will be launched with an outlay of Rs 7000 crore,” Sitharaman said in her budget speech in the Lok Sabha.
The e-courts project was conceptualised under the National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology.in the Indian Judiciary –2005 submitted by the e-committee of the Supreme Court with the aim of attuning courts with digital technology.
The allocation for the e-courts project, in keeping with the recommendations of the e-committee headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, comes in the midst of an ongoing confrontation between the government and the judiciary with regard to the process for the appointment of judges.
Welcoming the allocation, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chandrachud and Sitharaman. He said it was an unprecedented allocation meant to crate paperless courts for faster delivery of justice.
“I also compliment the Honourable Chief Justice of India, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud ji who as the Chairperson of the eCommittee of the Supreme Court of India has been instrumental in the success of the earlier phases of the eCourts Project and who personally supervised and mentored the formulation of the DPR [Detailed Project Report] of the Phase-III of the Project,” he added.
Chandrachud was requested by Rijiju to continue to head the Supreme Court's e-committee after becoming CJI since Phase III of the e-courts project is in the final stages of being fine-tuned and rolled out.
The e-courts project envisages use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for data analysis and reducing pendency of cases. It also focuses on developing virtual courts, going paperless by doing away with case files and digitising the entire court records.