For some strange reasons the officers of the Courts, I mean lawyers, judges and other officials are known to be extremely apathetic towards technology.
Let’s talk about Indian lawyers for instance. They are a very unique lot. The word ‘Indian Lawyer’ is very dynamic. One hears the word lawyer and instantly makes an image but there are just as many kinds of images for lawyers in India as many class caste language dialects communities and culture we have in this nation. I don’t think you have as many types of Doctors. A doctor is a doctor and a techie is a techie, his demography and empirical background data doesn’t play so much of a role in his profession. But a lawyer is not so much about his profession he is a person first made up of the life resources he have had.
Until the very recent past Law education in India is extremely uneven. At one hand you had schools like NLSUI at Bangalore where the fees are high and getting admission is tough. On the other hand you had State Universities which are just cakewalks. There was a time in Bengal when the unemployed youth used to get themselves an LLB degree out of sheer boredom. The elderly would advice worried parents, if not anything get your son into the law college, at least that would prevent him form going astray.” Though it always didn’t. Getting a degree of course didn’t mean they are ‘lawyers’ as you’d imagine one to be. I happen to have an uncle who has a LLB degree, works in the state Government and practices Homeopathy in the evening. He is everything but a lawyer.
It all boils down to one point, India has many great lawyers, but it doesn’t have enough good lawyers in proportion to the number of LLB Degree holders and its high time we focus on producing quality lawyers. The Legal education system needs to be stricter, like the JEEs for Engineering and Medical we should have JEE for Law. The course should have focus and it should be a 5 year integrated one.
Courts and legal education both should make more and more use of information technology. In one of the speeches in 2002 Shri K Jana Krishnamurthi, then Minister for Law and Justice pointed out that the Courts in India doesn’t even have a system to gather the basic empirical data related to the cases. To quote him, “At present there is no data readily available which gives the Chief Justices a complete picture of the type of cases pending before the Subordinate Courts. Details like the number of cases filed daily, the section of the Act under which the cause of action is invoked, the advocates appearing for the parties, whether the case is a criminal or a civil case etc., are not available readily.”
Good lawyers would make good judges. It’s time we realise that judges are not Gods and they need training in Court management. They need to take up technology, be open to new means of communications like video conferencing, electronic filing of cases, should implement means to reduce paper work etc. Even if there are online versions available we see our lawyers and judges opening up big fat editions of All India Reporters and courts. AIR Manuals happens to be a piece of art item in a Lawyer’s chamber. A form of legacy. Time to lose all that jazz.
So, I set out writing about how non techie our Courts are? But here’s something interesting. For the first time in our Judiciary in a recent case it was decided that a father would have right to access his minor daughter via webcam and chat, the daughter’s interim custody having been entrusted to the mother. Progress.
This is first part of a series I am running on Mutiny.In discussing how archaic and redundant is the Indian Judiciary.