‘Not a matter of choice’: Supreme Court asks Indian judiciary, tribunals to welcome modern technology, e-filing | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  ‘Not a matter of choice’: Supreme Court asks Indian judiciary, tribunals to welcome modern technology, e-filing
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‘Not a matter of choice’: Supreme Court asks Indian judiciary, tribunals to welcome modern technology, e-filing

‘The judiciary has to modernise and adapt to technology. The tribunals can be no exception. This can no longer be a matter of choice,’ a bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and justice JB Pardiwala earlier said.

Cuttack, May 06 (ANI): Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice DY Chandrachud addresses at the two-day national conference on digitization, paperless court and e-initiative programme, in Cuttack on Saturday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)Premium
Cuttack, May 06 (ANI): Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice DY Chandrachud addresses at the two-day national conference on digitization, paperless court and e-initiative programme, in Cuttack on Saturday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)

The Indian judiciary must embrace modern technology and move towards electronic filing, according to a recent order issued by a bench of the country’s Supreme Court. The ruling stated that “the judiciary has to modernise and adapt to technology" and that tribunals should no longer be exempt from this requirement.

“The judiciary has to modernise and adapt to technology. The tribunals can be no exception. This can no longer be a matter of choice," a bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and justice JB Pardiwala earlier said.

“With technological advances, the country’s judiciary and tribunals must move towards e-filing. This process has already commenced and is irreversible," it said.

The Supreme Court had been hearing a case relating to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which had insisted on physical document filing despite e-filing. The court felt that this was a “disincentive" and called for a “seamless transition" to electronic working. 

Also Read: ‘These are not just physical relations’: Top statements of CJI Chandrachud in same sex marriage hearing

The bench directed the Centre to re-examine the rules and encourage e-filing across tribunals. A working group will be established to make a comprehensive assessment of the position across tribunals and suggest regulatory changes.

The bench noted that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) was a significant prong in economic reforms and that the way the law was administered would need to keep pace with technology. The case related to an appeal filed by Sanket Agarwal, who had initiated corporate insolvency proceedings against a company before the NCLT.

The appeal was dismissed in August 2022, but Agarwal filed an appeal with the NCLAT in October 2022, e-filing on 10th October and following up with physical filing on 31st October. The NCLAT dismissed the appeal in January on the grounds that it was filed beyond the 45-day period prescribed for appeal filing.

The court highlighted the “flip flop" in NCLAT rules with regard to the limitation period being triggered at the time of e-filing or physical submission of documents at the counter. The bench restored the appeal to the NCLAT.

Also Read: CJI DY Chandrachud speaks on possibilities of AI, role of judges in such cases

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud earlier urged judges to adopt technology to benefit litigants, stating that judges' discomfort with technology should not burden litigants. CJI Chandrachud acknowledges that - while Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rich in possibilities - judges need to be careful not to relinquish their discretion when it comes to sentencing policies.

However, he also raised concerns about the practicality of handling large volumes of documents in the digital age, highlighting the challenge of expecting a judge to read through 10,000 or 15,000 pages of records in a statutory appeal. The Chief Justice stated that the judiciary would have to strike a balance between adopting technology and maintaining sound judicial practice.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 10 May 2023, 06:20 AM IST
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