Pandemic affected access to justice: Chief Justice of India

Justice Bobde, however, says virtual courts ensured the functioning of the system of justice.

Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, along with Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of the Supreme Court, on Saturday inaugurated the first ever e-resource centre and virtual court for traffic and transport to enable speedy justice for litigants, called ‘Nyay Kaushal’, at Nagpur.

After inaugurating the centre, CJI Bobde said, “The biggest problem that came with the pandemic was that access to justice became conditional on access to technology. This has ended up creating a divide between the ones who can afford technology and ones who cannot. With the aid of virtual courts, our system of justice does not suffer and the rule of law continues to be maintained.”

He added, “The e-resource Centre at Nagpur is meant to be a step at mitigating various inequalities, being connected to the Supreme Court, the High Courts and the Taluka Courts.”

The centre will provide the easiest way of filing court matters by utilising technology. It will provide benefits in saving time, avoidance of exertion, travelling long distances, and a saving in costs. The virtual court can deal with all traffic challan cases from every corner of Maharashtra online. It will be possible for the litigants to pay the fine and get the traffic challan case disposed of with the click of a button on a smartphone or a computer. The virtual court will be working from Katol in Nagpur district. Judges across the country have to attend the programme online.

Justice Chandrachud, who is also the Chairman of the Supreme Court’s E-court Committee and attended the inauguration virtually, said, “Delhi was the first to start virtual traffic courts across India, with almost 27,00,000 challans received by the virtual courts, and ₹19.8 crore collected by the government online.”

He went on to say, “Nearly 202.35 crore transactions have been recorded from e-court websites till now, and the total number of emails sent to advocates and litigants in 2020 was approximately 4.84 crore emails.”

The e-court mobile application, he said, records nearly 35 lakh hits daily and nearly 3,50,000 automated emails were being sent daily. “Further, 47,65,000 cases were registered by e-court websites, with e-filing facility available in 17 High Courts, three High Court Benches, and several district courts, as of the present date,” Justice Chandrachud added.

Chief Justice Dipankar Datta of the Bombay High Court said, “It is time for the world to move from a manual world to a paperless world.”


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