With the advent of the #Corona #Pandemic, all of us have had time to sit back and do a rain check on our lives and the systems that we follow. The #reality #check shows some #flaws in our #system that can be easily modified. Such modifications will not only lead to an easier lifestyle but will also save Mother #Earth from the constant abuse caused by mankind that has contributed to the pollution, be it land, air, water or noise #pollution.
Being in the #legalprofession for 25+ years, the one modification that I feel our country can benefit by is the starting of virtual courts. #Virtualcourt is a concept of online filing and presenting arguments, and online adjudication of cases (Virtual Court).
During the Pandemic, the #SupremeCourt and some of the higher courts have already paved the way for this by allowing litigants to file maters online and have Virtual Court hearings. This experiment on a small scale has clearly established that it is a way forward for the Indian Judicial System. It has also shown people (judiciary, lawyers, court registries and litigants) how the entire process can be simplified. Without a doubt, all concerned persons have been able to save a very valuable asset and that is time.
While I understand that considering the size of the Judicial System, it may not be easy to implement in a short time. However it is certainly doable. Having a digital system and Virtual Courts will certainly save time and money for all, as it will cut down on costs of filing and travelling. Additionally, a system of Virtual Courts can ensure a speedier trial as judges can insist that all pleadings be complete before trial (evidence and arguments) start.
What enforcement of this system would require is a pro-active and visionary Government, which luckily India has at this point of time. Possibly, the timing of Corona coincides with the tremendous pressure on the Judiciary of mounting litigations that seem to continue forever. The second requirement for this system would be a strong digital platform, which fortuitously
India already has. Hence, there is nothing that should stop the making of Virtual Courts a reality in India.
If the Indian legal system takes lessons from the Judicial System of advanced countries, we can restrict the use of courts to only trials and final arguments. This will substantially reduce the pressure on courts and in all likelihood; they will function more efficiently and quickly.
Probably, the most important aspect of Virtual Courts is that it would expose the lethargy and sluggishness of some of the departments as well as incompetent parts of the Judiciary. This would obviously ensure accountability of one and all making it a transparent, efficient and competitive Judicial System.
Now that several countries have started putting the blame of the Coronavirus on China, there would be a shift in manufacturing activities from China to other parts of the world. India is one country that can benefit by such a shift in the paradigm of business. This crisis could really make the ‘Make in India’ Policy a reality, helping the Indian economy to grow, stabilize and become a leading developed country. However, such growth can only take place if our legal system functions in an efficient manner. The current trend has put off so many foreign businesses from working in India. Though there is change on paper ground realities speak another story.
It is our fervent request to the #PrimeMinister to consider Virtual Courts as a reality. Such a step will accelerate India’s economic growth.
Sushila Ram Varma
The Indian Lawyer & Allied Services