eCourts Phase III


    Syllabus: GS2/Government Policies and Interventions


    • The Union Cabinet recently approved the eCourts Project Phase III as a Central Sector Scheme spanning four years (2023 onwards) with financial outlay of Rs.7210 crore.


    • The eCourts Mission Mode Project is the prime mover for improving access to justice using technology
    • As part of the National eGovernance Plan, the e-Courts Project has been under implementation since 2007 for ICT enablement of the Indian Judiciary, the Phase II of which has concluded in 2023. 
    • Phase III of the e-Courts Project in India is rooted in the philosophy of “access and inclusion” and aims to create a unified technology platform, which will provide a seamless and paperless interface between the courts, the litigants and other stakeholders.
    • Taking the gains of Phase-I and Phase-II to the next level, the e-Courts Phase-III aims to usher in a regime of maximum ease of justice by moving towards digital, online and paperless courts.
    • It includes digitization of the entire court records including legacy records and by bringing in universalization of e-Filing/ e-Payments through saturation of all court complexes with e-Sewa Kendras. 
    • It will put in place intelligent smart systems enabling data-based decision making for judges and registries while scheduling or prioritizing cases. 
    • It is being implemented under the joint partnership of Department of Justice, and eCommittee, Supreme Court of India, in a decentralized manner through the respective High Courts to develop a judicial system that would promote ease of justice.

    Expected outcomes of the scheme are as follows:

    • Citizens who do not have access to technology can access the judicial services from eSewa Kendras, thus bridging the digital divide.
    • Digitization of court records lays the foundation for all other digital services in the project. It enables processes to become more environmentally friendly by minimizing paper-based filings.
    • Virtual participation in the court proceedings thus reducing costs associated with court proceedings.
    • Expansion of eFiling for reducing the time and effort required to file documents, thereby minimizing human errors.
    • Use of latest technologies like Al and its subsets Machine Learning (ML), Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Natural Language Processing (NLP) to provide a smoother user experience by building a “smart” ecosystem.
      • It envisages smart scheduling, an intelligent system that enables data-based decision making for judges and registries, allows for greater predictability and optimisation of the capacity of judges and lawyers.
    • Emphasis on automated delivery of court summons by further expanding the NSTEP (National Serving and Tracking of Electronic Processes), hence drastically reducing the delays in trials.
    • Use of emerging technologies in court processes will make them more efficient and effective, hence contributing significantly towards the reduction of pendency cases.

    Source: PIB