Monday, October 17, 2016

E-summons, delay on agenda for law meet

Simplifying court procedures for timely disposal of cases is one of the main agenda points to be discussed at Tuesday's high-level advisory council meeting to be chaired by law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The government agenda lists delay and complexities in service of process as one of the major factors for pendency of court cases. It has emphasised process re-engineering and making it mandatory for courts to serve summons through e-mails, fax and courier that could help in reduction of pendency.

The agenda paper said necessary amendments have been made in the Civil Procedure Code to curtail delays by allowing service of process via electronic means.

However, it said, despite these efforts, a majority of high courts are yet to formalise and adopt IT tools for process service. In most courts, summons continue to be served through court personnel resulting in frequent adjournments, it added.

"Given that the efforts to make courts more information technology (IT) enabled have been ongoing for several years now, there is an urgent need for all high courts to allow and encourage use of information technology in serving processes in civil cases," the ministry observed.

A number of high courts have completed the exercise of revising their rules and these revised rules have either been accepted or are pending before the full court for approval. The Jharkhand HC has already notified its new civil and criminal court rules in June. The Calcutta HC has also amended its civil and criminal court rules.

The Delhi HC has introduced a centralized filing system and an amendment in the rules to introduce electronic registers in place of physical registers is being considered.

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