This Article is From Jun 01, 2020

In A First, Supreme Court Goes Paperless As Judges Use Laptops

Since late March, the Supreme Court has been conducting hearings through video conferencing because of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

Supreme Court Justice DY Chandrachud said that paperless hearing is a step towards modern courts.

New Delhi:

For the first time in its history, all three judges on a Supreme Court bench on Monday used laptops to go through cases instead of voluminous files.

Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Ajay Rastogi conducted the paperless hearings using laptops through video conferencing.

Normally, judges go through huge files while conducting the proceedings in the top court.

Chief Justice SA Bobde recently launched the process of e-filing cases in the Supreme Court from across the country to replace manual filing with the top court registry.

Justice DY Chandrachud, who led the e-committee of the Supreme Court project to cut down time and cost, told NDTV that it was the first time in the history of the Supreme Court a bench of the top court had gone paperless.

He said that paperless hearing is a step towards modern courts.

"We feel empowered more than anything else. We are in charge of everything. Work is streamlined and we are less dependent on others. Also there is no sanitation and hygiene issues as we conduct the hearing paperless," Justice Chandrachud said.

"Judiciary is more aligned to how work is conducted in modern establishments and this is a step towards modern courts," he said.

Explaining the procedure, Justice Chandrachud said that case files are delivered to judges electronically in compressed "zip" files. They are then downloaded and converted to PDF files - a document file format - that the judges then use to study and hear the case.

"We take notes on the cases on our laptops and refer it while hearing the case," he said.

Since late March, the Supreme Court has been conducting hearings through video conferencing because of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

Recently, Chief Justice SA Bobde said that virtual courts are not a substitute for open courts but because of the compulsion, hearings are being conducted through video conferencing.