SC directs district courts to digitise records of criminal trials, civil suits

New Delhi: Noting that technology has increasingly enmeshed with the systems of dispute resolution, the Supreme Court has directed all district courts to digitise all records of criminal trials and civil suits.

A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Sanjay Karol noted that the e-committee of the Supreme Court had issued an SOP for digital preservation on September 24, 2021.

Robust system of responsibility and accountability

The top court said a robust system of responsibility and accountability must be developed and fostered in order to ensure proper protection and regular update of all records facilitating the smooth functioning of the judicial process.

The order said: “The Registrar General of the High Courts shall ensure that in all cases of criminal trial, as well as civil suits, the digitisation of records must be duly undertaken with promptitude at all district courts, preferably with the time prescribed for filing an appeal within the laws off procedure.”

To expedite the process

The apex court also directed the concerned district judges to ensure that the records are verified expeditiously once the system of digitisation along with the system of authentication of the digitised records is in place.

“A continually updated record of Register of Records digitised shall be maintained with periodic reports being sent to high courts concerned.”

The top court’s direction came while setting aside conviction of a man in a corruption case by the Allahabad High Court. It noted that the alleged offense was committed 28 years ago and the relevant trial court record has not been able to be reconstructed, despite efforts of the courts.

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