Despite the directions of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the judgments of city courts are not being uploaded regularly on the official website of the Chandigarh district courts, or the centralised website created by the apex court for integrating the judicial process in the country in a common computer network.
Take, for instance, the judgment sentencing the three accused in the Khushpreet murder case which was announced in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Atul Kasana on April 18. After so many days, it has not yet been uploaded on either site. On the centralised website, two judgments dated April 22 were the last to be uploaded, although there are as many as 30 courts.
On March 7, Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini S Nagpal, who is also the nodal officer for computerisation, had written to all district courts, observing that the orders and judgments were not being uploaded regularly. She had said that necessary directions should be issued to stenographers for uploading orders and judgments. Obviously, the websites are not up to date.
Reasons like staff crunch and unavailability of internet connections in some courts are offered for not uploading the judgments and daily orders.
A court official said, “New courts were sanctioned and 10 new judges joined in the last three months, but the supporting staff was not given. Against a requirement of 78, only 58 posts of various categories have been sanctioned.’’
Another official said that there should be a separate cell for the work of uploading judgments because the court staff was overworked.
Earlier, the judgments were uploaded on the official website of the Chandigarh district court, which is chddistrictcourts.gov.in. However, in the beginning of the year, the new centralised website http://ecourts.gov.in/ was created by the Supreme Court. Judgment writers, record keeper and the readers in each court were given special IDs and passwords using which they could upload judgments.
A court official said, “When the new courts started functioning, there was no proper infrastructure and there weren’t enough computers.’’
In the first week of April, new computers arrived but many courts still do not have internet connections, the court official added.
However, District and Sessions Judge S K Aggarwal said that all judgments were uploaded the day these were pronounced. “If there is any delay, I will direct the people concerned to ensure that judgments are uploaded on the official website on time,” he added.
Talking about the importance of making the judgments available online, R S Bains, an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, said, “This creates transparency and instils faith in the people regarding the judicial processes. I do not find a valid reason why the judgments should not be brought in the public space. In the higher judiciary, all judgments and order are made available on the website the same day or in minimum possible time.”