Saturday, March 20, 2010

Online Dispute Resolution In India Strengthened

India is not using ICT for dispute resolution whether it pertains to e-courts or contemporary out of court dispute resolution in the form of online dispute resolution. Fortunately, the first ever Techno-Legal Online Dispute Resolution Centre of India has been launched by Perry4Law that would cater the dispute resolution, training, educational and many more such crucial requirements in India.

Online dispute resolution (ODR) in India is in its infancy stage and it is gaining prominence day by day. With the enactment of Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) in India, e-commerce and e-governance have been given a formal and legal recognition. Even the traditional arbitration law of India has been reformulated and now India has Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 in place that is satisfying the harmonised standards of UNCITRAL Model. Even the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has been amended and section 89 has been introduced to provide methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in India.

However, the fact is that the increasing backlog of cases is posing a big threat to the judicial system of India. The same was even more in the early 90 but due to the computerisation process in the Supreme Court and other courts that was reduced to a great extent. However, the backlog is still alarming. This is because mere computerisation of courts or other constitutional offices will not make much difference. What we need is a will and desire to use the same for speedy disposal of various assignments.

There is a lack of training among police, lawyers, judges, etc regarding use of information and communication technology (ICT) for legal, judicial and ADR /ODR purposes. Judges in India need cyber law training, e-courts training, ADR/ODR training, etc that allow them to effectively understand and use ICT for judicial and ADR/ODR purposes.

India has to cover a long gap before the benefits of ICT can be used for effective day to day functioning of its courts. The easy task of computerisation has already been achieved to some extent but the real task is still yet to be achieved. For instance, although computerisation efforts are satisfactory regarding courts in India yet till now India does not have even a single e-court. This is because the difficult part of establishment of e-courts in India is yet to be achieved.

ODR and e-courts may hold the key to growing heaps of backlog of cases in India but the political will is essential to achieve the same. In the absence of political will, we have to be satisfied by half hearted, half baked and failed e-governance projects alone.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First E-Judiciary Training And Consultancy Centre Launched In India

India is at the initial stages of establishment of electronic courts (e-courts). Though India has done a good job by computerising the courts at various levels yet it is still far from the establishment of even the first e-court of India. It seems the e-courts project of India needs a techno-legal training boost.

Perry4Law and PTLB have launched the first ever e-courts training and consultancy centre of India and perhaps first of its kind in the World. A “prototype” of the same is available to the public and stakeholders till the final website is out.

Efforts in the direction of establishment of e-courts in India have been in process since 2003 and significant development in the sphere of computerisation has already been achieved. It is at this stage that there seems to be stagnation of e-court project of India and this initiative by Perry4Law would facilitate in the smooth and hassle free migration of e-court project to the next level.

India must understand that E-courts are much more that mere connectivity and computerisation of traditional courts. The moment e-filing, presentation, contest and adjudication of the cases in an online environment would start, India would surely be capable of establishing e-courts.