Cuttack: As part of the celebration of 75th year of the High Court of Orissa, the Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit inaugurated 34 paperless courts in all the 30 districts here at Odisha Judicial Academy on Saturday.
The concept of paperless court has been successfully implemented in the Supreme Court and different High Courts including the High Court of Orissa. However, launching of paperless courts in all the districts in Odisha is a first in the country.
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) has inaugurated the courts in the presence of Dr Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Chairperson, e-Committee, Justice M.R. Shah, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Dr. Justice S. Muralidhar, Chief Justice and Justice S. Talapatra, Chairman, Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology Committee of the High Court of Orissa.
Judges of the High Court of Orissa and Members of the Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology Committee of the High Court were also present. District Judges and judicial officers of the state joined the event through virtual mode.
The CJI said technological advancement has become essential for the functioning of the judiciary. Speaking about the evolution of IT in Indian judiciary, CJI shared his experience of working as a young lawyer in the pre-IT period and the ease of work that technological advancement has ensured over the years. He also highlighted the positive impacts of paperless courts on the environment.
The CJI said he was happy to know that the judicial officers in Odisha voluntarily came forward for the paperless courts.
Lauding the e-initiatives of the High Court of Orissa, he said the High Court has shown the Indian Judiciary new direction, new light.
In his welcome address Dr. S. Muralidhar thanked the e-Committee, Supreme Court of India for the guidance and encouragement to the High Court of Orissa in expanding the horizon of digitization and using information technology for other initiatives like paperless courts, e-payment of court fee, virtual hearing, vulnerable witness deposition centres, e-custody certificates, e-traffic challans and voluntary witness deposition centres in all the districts of Odisha.
Chief Justice Dr .Muralidhar announced that shortly all the judicial officers in Odisha would be provided with screen-touch laptops to facilitate them to function paperless. Stressing upon the need of paperless court for balancing the ecosystem and its other advantages Dr Muralidhar said paperless courts in the district judiciary of Odisha is a significant milestone for the Indian judiciary and thanked the state government and OCAC for the cause.
He thanked the Department of Posts for releasing the Special Cover and Picture Postcards featuring the High Court of Orissa.
Justice MR Shah hailed the e-initiatives of the High Court of Orissa and expressed hope that those would be replicated in other states. Sharing his experience Justice Shah said age is never a barrier in learning the use of IT which has become essential for making the justice administration friendly for all the stakeholders.
Enumerating the advantages of paperless courts, he emphasized on the need for advancement of courtroom technology.
Justice Chandrachud who heads the e-Committee, Supreme Court of India was all praises of the e-initiatives of the High Court of Orissa saying that the High Court has established itself as the pioneer in implementing the decisions of e-Committee and termed the High Court’s initiatives as ‘path breaking’ for the rest of India.
In a lighter note, Justice Chandrachud said it’s been like ‘monsoon of e-initiatives’ in the High Court of Orissa and also said the event of launching paperless courts in the districts was the best way of celebrating 75th year of the High Court.
Enumerating the advantages of paperless court he said, it is cost effective for litigants, time saving for lawyers, effective in space management, makes case information easily accessible at fingertips and most importantly, it is environment friendly, and said paperless court in district level is doubly beneficial, given the volume of cases.
Justice Chandrachud informed that about 75 lakhs judgments of various High Courts have been made available in National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) for easy access of lawyers and judges and Real Time Virtual Justice Digital Clocks have been devised for updated information about functioning of every leg of Indian judiciary.
Citing examples of the training of lawyers being held in the Supreme Court on the functioning of green benches (paperless) he stressed upon the need of bridging the digital divide in India.
To mark the 75th year of the High Court a Special Postal Cover and cancellation cachet along with 6 picture post cards featuring the High Court of Orissa was also released by the Chief Justice of India and other dignitaries in presence of Suvendu Kumar Swain, Chief Postmaster General, Odisha Circle.
The function was attended by Advocate General Ashok Kumar Parija, Assistant Solicitor General of India for the High Court of Orissa Prasanna Kumar Parhi and Office bearers of High Court Bar Association.
Senior officials of the state government including Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra, Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Principal Secretary, Finance Department, Secretary, Department of Information & Technology, Chief Executive Officer, OCAC, Director General of Police, along with senior officials of the Department of Posts were also present on the occasion.