In a move aimed at digitising the judiciary and making it simpler for the common people, the government has launched an eCourts Services mobile app based on the website http://ecourts.gov.in/ which allows any litigant, advocate, judge or anyone else to check the current status of a case on the district courts or high courts across India. The app has been fairly successful so far, having registered over a million downloads on the Google Play store, with a 4.3 rating out of 5.
But how do we check the status of a case using the eCourts Services app? Here is a primer
eCourts app: Searching a case through CNR number
When you open the eCourts Services app, it will show a box through which you can ‘Search by CNR’. The CNR number is a unique 16-digit alphanumeric number, which is assigned to each case filed in the high courts or district courts.
eCourts app: Searching a case through other options
If you do not have the CNR number or are unable to find it, relax. A case can also be searched through other options such as case number, party name, filing number, FIR number, advocate name, act, case type and caveat.
After choosing one of the options and entering the required details, one can get the case details such as case type, filing number, date of filing, registration number and date and CNR number. The page will also have the case status comprising of the first hearing date, decision date, case status, court number and judge. It also has the name of the petitioners, respondents along with their respective advocates, the acts under which the case has been filed, history of case hearing and final orders or judgements.
While this service has brought a lot of transparency in the judiciary and has allowed people to access information related to their cases, all these key details related to the case are available only when their details are uploaded by the courts on their respective websites.
“All this would be helpful when the courts become proactive and orders are updated (on the website and app) as soon as they are passed. The order updation in some of the district courts tend to get delayed by 10-15 days, which become very difficult,” says Alok Shankar, Advocate at Advaita Legal.
Even if judges are well versed with technology, they do not update the website or app on their own. They pass the order to their respective stenographers, who in turn will forward it to the person concerned for data updation on the website. This tends to take a lot of time in some district courts, Shankar said adding that even though the app and the websites have helped users significantly, there is “scope for immense improvement”.
Even though there are some challenges in a few courts related to manpower, the app has brought in a lot of relief to the litigants as they can access the details of their case right on their phone.
“Around 10 years back, you had to depend on the lawyers to get the judgement, with the help of eCourts it is very easy to access the court’s judgement,” Jaykar KS, Advocate at the Kerala High Court said.
The digitisation process across courts will help reduce a lot of time and paperwork and help speed up the judicial process, Jaykar feels. “Transfering files from High Court to Supreme Court tends to be time-consuming and there may be a chance that some file doesn’t reach on time. Once these are digitised, all the data can be transferred digitally through proper channels,” he said.