Status of Information Technology in Indian Courts Ever since NIC took up computerization in Supreme Court in 1990, many applications have been computerized which have impact on masses i.e. litigants. Following are some of the applications which have been successfully implemented at Supreme Court and 18 High Courts and these applications have either direct or indirect impact on the masses .
Supreme Court of India List of Business Information System (LOBIS) : It is about scheduling of cases to be heard by the courts on the following day. It enabled the Registries of Supreme Court and High Courts in eliminating manual process of Cause List generation thus any manipulation by vested interests. These databases contain details of fresh cases, disposed and pending cases. It is the backbone application of every Court.
Impact : As Cause Lists are generated automatically by the computer manual intervention has been eliminated resulting in generation of Cause List in time with out any hassle
Cases are listed strictly in chronological order of date of filing; eliminated irregularities All cases having the same law point(s) to be decided by the courts are bunched/grouped and posted before one bench. This has helped the courts in faster disposal of cases.
It has become simpler to recall dismissed cases when review petitions are filed. On the spot reliable and instantaneous statistical reports are generated It has helped Registry of Supreme Court in streamlining its day to day activities to achieve one of the main objectives of COURTIS Project
Filing Counter Computerization In the Supreme Court of India and all High Courts fresh cases are filed only before the computerized Filing Counters. As the advocates stand in queue for Filing cases before the counters, the data entry Operator enters preliminary details required for Registration such as Party names, advocate details, etc. The computer terminal at the query counter is used to attend to the quarries of the litigants on the spot. The defects, if any, are listed out and handed over to the litigants/advocates for rectification. Time limitation is also checked by the system automatically.
Impact The filing process is made easy The advocates/litigants need not wait for a long time in the queue The amount collected towards Court fee in a day is automatically calculated thus saving the time of court official’s time Query counter avoids the litigants go around the sections to find out the Filing status
Filing process is orderly Saves time and efforts of advocates and court officials
COURTNIC This is about providing Supreme Courts' pending case status information to litigants/advocates on any node of NICNET. COURTNIC answers about two hundred queries of litigants/advocates per day all over the country on the status of their pending cases. It is available on nominal charges. Primarily COURTNIC information is available in all NIC-High Court Computer Cells and in some District Court. It has been in use since 1993.
Impact The response to the COURTNIC from the public is over-whelming, as pending cases information is available at his/her District headquarters. It avoids the litigants to come all over to Delhi from their place. The litigants need not find the status of their pending cases on phone as is the usual practice. Probably this facility is first of its kind in the world.
JUDIS NIC has brought out Judgement Information System (JUDIS) consisting of complete text of all reported judgement of Supreme Court of India from 1950 to till Date. (http://judis.nic.in)
Supreme Court's pending Cases on IVR Interested litigants and advocates can find out the status of their cases pending in Supreme Court on telephone by making use of Interactive Voice. Response System (IVR) free of charge. For accessing this, the phone number is: 011-24300601.
Cause Lists on Internet (http://clists.nic.in) Causelists are scheduling of cases to be heard by the courts on the following day. The Causelists of Supreme Court and many other High Courts are available on NIC Web Servers. As the Supreme Court of India and all the 18 High Courts and their 10 Benches are fully computerised, all these courts generate Daily and Weekly Causelists from the computer servers installed by NIC. The Causelist application is the backbone application of all courts as no court can function with out that day’s Causelist. Hence this has become near time critical application in all the Courts.
Immediately after generation of the Causelist most of the courts cyclostyle the stencils cut from the printers attached to the servers for generating thousands of copies running into a few lakhs of pages every day. Due to this reason the courts take a lot of time for generation and supply of the Causelists to the advocates at their offices or residences. Usually the advocates receive the cyclostyled copies of a day’s Cause List not before 8 PM. Some High Courts send the Causelists data on floppy to the Printers for printing thousands of copies. This process costs each High Courts lakhs of Rupees every year. By making the Causelists available on Internet, no High Court is incurring any expenditure as they are using the already available infrastructure and the Software of NIC.
Features It is available on Internet Causelists of all High Courts can be accessed at URL i.e. (http://10.249.17.134) Advocates can generate their own Causelist consisting of his/her own cases Retrieval through the name of either petitioner or respondent Court wise list can be generated Judge wise list can be prepared Entire Causelist can be printed, if required Case no. wise access is possible Impact
Advocates are able to receive the Cause lists almost immediately after courts hours
Advocate can generate their own casuists which will contain only their cases, thus avoiding them to go through hundreds of pages to locate their cases As the application is available on Internet, the litigant public can easily find out whether their cases are coming for hearing or not, with out bothering the advocates
Some courts are considering to reduce the generation of copies of Causelists, as most of the advocates are dependent on the Internet version of Causelists, thus the courts can save good amount money on annual basis
Background: The decision was based on an opinion tendered by the Election Commission in July, stating that the said office was exempt from purview of ‘office of profit’ under provisions of the Delhi MLAs (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.
Government of NCT of Delhi, in its submission to EC, had made it clear that Rogi Kalyan Samitis were constituted by it and that their chairpersons were not entitled to any remuneration and would therefore fall under the exemption granted by item 14 of the Schedule of the Delhi MLAs (Removal of Disqualification) Act. The Act provides for exemption of office of chairman, vice-chairman and members of the hospital advisory committee, Delhi, from purview of “office of profit”.
What is an ‘office of profit’? If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “office of profit”. A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.
What are the basic criteria to disqualify an MP or MLA? Basic disqualification criteria for an MP are laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191. They can be disqualified for: a) Holding an office of profit under government of India or state government; b) Being of unsound mind; c) Being an undischarged insolvent; d) Not being an Indian citizen or for acquiring citizenship of another country.
What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification?
Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions. In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure.
Background: In 2017, a group of 19 lawmakers met then Governor C.Vidyasagar Rao and gave a memorandum expressing loss of confidence in Palaniswami and requested him to appoint a new Chief Minister.
The Speaker then issued notice to the lawmakers asking them why they should not be disqualified under the anti-defection law. Subsequently, one of legislators, S.T.K. Jakkaiyan, switched over to the Palaniswami side and the others were disqualified.
The anti-defection law: The 10th Schedule to the Constitution, popularly referred to as the ‘Anti-Defection Law,’ was inserted by the 52nd Amendment in 1985.
The grounds for disqualification are mentioned under Articles 102 (2) and 191 (2). A Member of Parliament or state legislature is deemed to have defected:
When the elected member voluntarily gives up his membership of a political party. If he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party or anyone authorised to do so, without obtaining prior permission.
Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party. Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.
Exceptions under the Law: Any person elected as speaker or chairman could resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he demitted that post. A party could be merged into another if at least two-thirds of its party legislators voted for the merger. The law initially permitted splitting of parties, but that has now been outlawed.
Decision of the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review: The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court. However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
About Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC): The Government in August 2018 had sanctioned the scheme “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)” at a total cost of Rs.418 Cr for implementation up to 31.3.2020.
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur is the National Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme. Details may be viewed at www.sparc.iitkgp.ac.in.
The scheme aims at improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.
Under this Scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to facilitate strong research collaboration between Indian research groups with the best in class faculty and renowned research groups in the leading universities of the world, in areas that are at the cutting edge of science or with direct social relevance to the mankind, specifically India.
Significance of the scheme: This Scheme is expected to have a major impact in providing the best international expertise to address major national problems, expose Indian academicians to the best collaborators abroad, enable international faculty to stay in India for a longer duration, provide Indian students an opportunity to work in the world class laboratories, to develop strong bilateral relationships in research, and improve the international ranking of Indian Institutes.
About CAPAM: Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) is a non-profit association representing an international network of over 1100 senior public servants, Heads of Government, leading academics and researchers located in over 50 different countries across the Commonwealth.
The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is an institutional member of Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM).
CAPAM has been announcing its International Innovations Awards (IIA) Programme bi-annually, since 1998. The CAPAM Awards celebrate the spirit of innovation in the public service by recognizing organizations that have made significant contributions to improve governance and services in the public sector.
Awardees: Unnayan Banka: The initiative entitled “Unnayan Banka- Reinventing Education Using Technology of Banka District, State of Bihar has been awarded under the Category “Innovation Incubation”.
“Unnayan Banka” is an initiative which envisages “Quality education for all’ especially for those at the bottom of the Pyramid, using latest technologies. It’s a holistic model of overall development of youths from Education to Employability.
Unified Agriculture Markets: “Unified Agriculture Markets” of Co-operation Department of Government of Karnataka has also been selected under the Category ‘Innovation in Public Service Management’. This initiative has also been awarded the overall Gold Award for CAPAM Awards, 2018.
Highlights of the report: Air passenger numbers worldwide could double to 8.2 billion in 2037. The biggest contribution in this growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region, which will account for half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years.
While China will climb up one spot to displace US as the world’s largest aviation market in the mid-2020s, India will take the third place by surpassing the U.K. around 2024. By 2037, India is expected to add 414 million passengers to its existing 572 million passengers.
In fact, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the fastest growth at the rate of 4.8%, followed by Africa (4.6%) and west Asia (4.4%). The other south-east Asian countries predicted to grow rapidly include Indonesia, likely to be the fourth largest by 2030 from its current ranking of 10th largest aviation market. Thailand, too, is expected to enter the top 10 markets in 2030.
About IATA: What is it? The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 280 airlines or 83% of total air traffic. Formed in April 1945, it is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, which was formed in 1919.
What it does? IATA supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards. It also provides consulting and training services in many areas crucial to aviation.
Headquarters: It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with Executive Offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
India and Bangladesh sign agreements for enhancing inland and coastal waterways connectivity
Key facts: The two countries have signed an agreement to use Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has also been signed for movement of passenger and cruise services.
An addendum to ‘Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade’ (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh has been signed for inclusion of Dhubriin India and Pangaonin Bangladesh as new Ports of Call.
The two sides have also agreed to consider inclusion of Rupnarayanriver (National Waterway-86) from Geonkhali to Kolaghat in the protocol route and to declare Kolaghatin West Bengal as new Port of Call.
Both sides agreed to declare Badarpur on river Barak (NW 16) as an Extended Port of Call of Karimganj in Assam and Ghorasal of Ashuganj in Bangladesh on a reciprocal basis.
Both sides have also agreed for development of Jogighopa as a hub/trans-shipment terminal for movement of cargo to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Bhutan and notifying Munsiganj River terminal by Bangladesh Customs for routing third party Exim cargo through Kolkata Port.
Benefits and significance: The new arrangement will facilitate the movement of fly ash, cement, construction materials from India to Bangladesh through IWT on Rupnarayanriver.
The North Eastern states would get connected to directly to the ports of Kolkata and Haldia in India and Mongla in Bangladesh through waterways which would facilitate movement EXIM cargo and would also reduce the logistic costs.
The reconstruction and opening up of Jangipur navigational lock on river Bhagirathi subject to the provisions of the Treaty between India and Bangladesh on Sharing of Ganga Waters at Farakka,1996. This move has the potential to reduce the distance to Assam by more than 450 kms on the protocol routes.
Key facts: The initiative aims to develop individual species pages for all Indian mammals with information on identification, variation, distribution, breeding and non-breeding ecology and species conservation.
Now one can contribute to the cause of science by sharing the picture of the animal on a specific website, providing the location of spotting. This will make more information available about lesser known mammals of the country.
Background: As per current estimates, 426 species of mammals are found in India; of them 47 species are endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Along with well known species, the mammals of 100 species of rats and 126 species of bats and 24 species of whales of dolphins.
Significance of MaOI: These photographic records will help researchers in having distribution map of mammals in the country. The photographs will not only help gather information on the distribution of the various species but also interactions between different species of mammals, like predation and mutualism.
Context: The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014, 2015 & 2016 is being conferred on the doyen of Manipuri dance Sh. Rajkumar Singhajit Singh; Chhayanaut (a cultural organization of Bangladesh) and on one of India’s greatest sculptors, Sh. Ram Vanji Sutar, respectively.
About the Tagore award: The annual award was instituted by the Government of India during the commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012 and second was conferred on Shri Zubin Mehta in 2013.
The award carries an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item.
The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex. Awardees are selected by a jury headed by the Prime Minister of India.
Context: India Mobile Congress is being held in New Delhi. Theme: “NEW DIGITAL HORIZONS: Connect. Create. Innovate.”
About IMC: The India Mobile Congress 2018, hosted by the Department of telecommunications and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), is an excellent platform for policy makers, industry and regulators to engage in meaningful deliberations to drive the future direction of this important sector.