Scope of National Judicial Data Grid widens

The grid computerises, records the judicial information and monitors the cases from the time the case is registered, till it is disposed of with judgement, reports MY Siddiqui

National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), started as a part of the ongoing e-Courts Integrated Mission Mode Project, now covers all district and sub-divisional courts of India. It computerizes, records the judicial information and monitors the cases from the time the case is registered, till it is disposed of with judgement. It also groups similar law points, court rules, similar cases and related Acts. While functioning as a tool of expeditious disposal of cases and reducing huge pendency of cases, arrears of cases are still not reducing simply because of ugly Bar-Bench nexus resulting in frequent adjournments, aided and abetted by continuing some large vacancies of magistrates/judges caused by inability of respective High Courts and State Governments to fill the vacancies on time. There appears to be a lack of coordinating machinery between the respective State Governments and High Courts.

With the NJDG, e-Judiciary service is implemented as a distributed online web system. The latest consolidated figures of district-wise pending cases have now become a click away. The Grid would give litigants and others the consolidated figures of pending cases in the country’s district judiciary. Aimed at promoting transparency and access to information for all stakeholders in the justice delivery system, the NJDG public access page can be visited at the National e-Courts portal, ecourts.gov.in.NJDG covers all categories of cases including juvenile justice system.

Currently, NJDG contains information on over 3.14 crores pending cases of district/subordinate judiciary as in November 2019 under all the High Courts. One of the key benefits of computerisation of courts is the automation of case management. All courts including the higher judiciary of High Courts with 44.75 lakh cases pending and the Supreme Court with 59,867 pendency are being linked to be part of the NJDG to create a National Arrears Grid. Under the NJDG, citizens would avail themselves of services through a Judicial Service Centre at every court complex. These include filing of cases, availability of certified copies of orders/judgements, information about case status, etc. The case management system is a process which increases judicial control over identification of substantive issues and optimises the time required to complete litigation.

With the 25 per cent vacancies in district/subordinate judiciary, about 42 per cent vacancies in High Courts, one vacancy in the Supreme Court, and unholy Bar-Bench nexus, which delays disposal of cases, continuing unabated, myriad technological innovative measures to fast track disposal of cases including expeditious reductionof approximately four crores pending cases, people are keeping their fingers crossed about faster delivery of justice. Pendency of cases is constant as in 2014, when the current Government first took over. Presently, judge-population ratio in India is about 18 judges per one million population!

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