Speedy disposal of cases in the courts deserves to be the key priority areas. The issue needs lot of attention in the state of Jammu and Kashmir as more than three lakh cases are pending for want of disposal.
An insight into the work load of the Courts at different levels and the work accomplished by them in the state notwithstanding, there still are more than three lakh cases that are pending in the Jammu and Kashmir high court and subordinate courts.
There are many reasons as to why a staggering figure of more than three lakh cases are pending in the courts. One being the uncertainty over the situation in the Valley as often strikes and shut-down too play its part.
Besides, efforts to bring in work efficiency in the courts has never been a priority fo the governments, be it the federal or the state government.
Notably, in 2007 the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, announced the introduction of e-Courts Mission Mode. This scheme that was introduced in the courts was devised mainly to overcome the difficult issue of huge pendency and also the long delays in meting out justice.
Consequently, a comprehensive scheme was formulated which was commonly referred to as e-Courts Mission Mode. The purpose was to introduce the latest skills of information and communication technology into the judicial system and especially in handling the under trial and jailed cases.
For the implementation of the e-Courts Mission Project, video conferencing equipments for 14 jails-Central Jails of Kot Bhalwal and Srinagar, district jails of Jammu, Kishtwar, Kathua, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Leh and sub-jails of Hiranagar and Reasi and 12 District Court Complexes Jammu, Kathua, Rajouri, Reasi, Kishtwar, Udhampur, Poonch, Srinagar, Anantnag, Kupwara, Baramulla and Leh were provided during February 2015 and October 2015.
However, the report of the CAG on the performance of these devices is dismal and depressing. The report says that only five out of 48 identified courts were found exclusively computerized during the audit while as in 25 courts filing of cases was found exclusively manual and in 18 courts filing of cases was found partially computerized.
None of these 48 courts were found computerized vis-à-vis caveat checking of cases, issue of check slips, preparation of summons, preparation of court diaries, warrants and notice generation, preparation of decree and delivery of decree.
This dismal performance simply means that the scheme has failed in Jammu and Kashmir. This is despite the equipment necessary for the success of the scheme was also provided.
The significant component of the e-Courts as proposed in the original scheme was of video-conferencing. If it had been implemented in right earnest and with seriousness, the expenditure and time both would have been saved and a new enthusiasm for working expeditiously would have shaped.
The courts lack expert manpower to handle the gadgets. The results that we find today are not encouraging and these should become the catalyst for the policy planners to reconsider the entire scheme with the single important objective of how it can be made effective.