Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud inaugurated "Digital Courts for Contested Traffic Challans" for Delhi on Friday and said the "significant" step would allow people to seamlessly participate in such proceedings virtually.
At a virtual event organised by the Delhi High Court, Justice Chandrachud also flagged off a "Bail Orders Sharing Module" on the e-Prison platform and asked the high court to ensure that its judgments are made available for people in Hindi.
The "Bail Order Sharing Module" impacts personal liberty and would ensure that judicial orders on prisoners' release are communicated and implemented, the CJI said, adding that it would be beneficial for poor people and the marginalised sections of the society.
The two projects were inaugurated by the CJI in the presence of Delhi High Court Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and other judges of the court, including Justice Rajiv Shakdher who is the chairperson of the high court's Information Technology Committee.
Two digital courts to contest traffic challans have been set up for East and North-East districts in the Karkardooma courts complex and these would adjudicate the challans by conducting the proceedings online, including recording of evidence, hearing arguments etc., according to a release issued by the high court.
The release further said the violators can appear before these courts online and if convicted, can pay the fine amount on the web portal.
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It has been proposed to set up a digital traffic court in each district court of Delhi, the release said.
Considering the high volume of cases related to traffic challans in the city, Justice Chandrachud said through the digital courts, "we are now roping in contested cases as well so as to not leave them out in our move towards digital courts".
"I hope this will provide a seamless access to citizens who want to contest challans issued to them," the CJI said.
"Each of them (the two projects launched) is significant in their own way. The first deals with the high volume of cases which we have pertaining to traffic challans. Nothing speaks better than the statistics.... The statistics for Delhi are extremely telling. As of April 26, 2023, (around) 1.77 crore challans were received. Proceedings have been completed in (around) 1.74 crore challans and 1.7 lakh challans are contested, while 28.48 lakh challans have been paid and the total fine collected in Delhi is about Rs 249.51 crore," he added.
"This is truly amazing work by the Delhi High Court and the Delhi judiciary.... I hope this will provide a seamless access to citizens who want to contest challans issued to them," Justice Chandrachud said.
He said the "Bail Orders Sharing Module" on the e-Prison platform is "crucial" for the judiciary, adding that "day after day", there were cases in the Supreme Court in which release orders were not complied with.
"These prisoners are marginalised to the core and leave aside those who are at the tip of the iceberg, who may be well-resourced, a large number of prisoners who are occupants of our jails come from poor backgrounds. By launching this initiative, we are ensuring that not only are our orders communicated to the jail, but also monitoring compliance with our orders, which is equally important," the CJI said.
The release informed that the module would provide a platform to the Delhi High Court and district courts to share digitally-signed bail orders with inmates or undertrials lodged in any prison in the country.
It further said e-Prison will also generate a list of cases in which prisoners were not released despite bail being granted to them and help the Legal Service Authority to take appropriate steps.
The CJI said it is important to replicate the initiative all across the country.
He also spoke on the top court's initiative of translating judgments in regional languages and said more than 4,000 court verdicts are now available in Hindi.
"What better way can we have of reaching out to citizens than speaking to our citizens in a language which they best understand? I do believe, therefore, that the Delhi High Court will take this initiative forward and ensure that all judgments of the Delhi High Court are translated and made available to citizens in the language they understand, that is, Hindi," he said.
Justice Chandrachud further said establishing the "e-seva kendras" was an important part of the third phase of the e-courts project, which would "bridge the internet divide" and help those citizens and lawyers who do not have access to the internet.
He pointed out that for the third phase of the e-courts project, the Centre has sanctioned a budget of Rs 7,000 crore, adding, "We did not suffer even a rupee of cut in the budget that we had proposed."
E-seva kendras can also be set up in prisons for the benefit of the inmates, he added.
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