Given the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court of India was forced to rethink on the functioning of the top court. This eventually paved the way for Virtual Courts and efiling. Lately, the Supreme Court has been hearing only urgent matters through video-conferencing since March 25th due to the nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Hon’ble Chief Justice, S A Bobde, mandated the filing stating that “the launch of the 24×7 efiling module is the first step towards having an institutional setup to enable the functioning of rule of law irrespective of the pandemic.”
What is efiling?
efiling refers to “Electronic Filing”. It is a process where court papers are filed electronically using a computer instead of handing them to a court clerk in person.
efiling Vs Paper Filing
We are in the digital era where everyone is trying to go paperless. Efiling is preferred by more and more by people these days since it is faster, cheaper, accurate, and more convenient with respect to attaching documents, making online payments, etc. Paper Filing, on the other hand, can be very tedious and cumbersome to handle.
24×7 Efiling Module launched in India
The efiling Module was recently launched by the SC which enables cases to be filed online 24 hours a day and 7 days a week irrespective of the apex court's working hours.
The chief justice highlighted the principles that were kept in mind while designing the efiling module:
- The service which has been provided to the Bar and litigants should facilitate access to justice.
- Technology must be simple to use and not exclude any citizen.
- The mission is to provide effective and inexpensive justice everywhere.
Online Demo of Supreme Court efiling Module
The Online Demo of Supreme Court efiling Module was held on May 15th between 4 PM and 5 PM. This online session for the demo of the Supreme Court's efiling module was attended by CJI SA Bobde who gave his Presidential remarks. Justice DY Chandrachud delivered an address encompassing the background and purpose of the live demo.
President of Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA), Advocate Shivaji Jadhav, as well as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Senior Counsel Dushyant Dave, also delivered their addresses. The Demo was webcast live on YouTube.
Watch the Demo here: Live demo efIling Supreme Court for AORs and other Advocates – https://youtu.be/6TyVvPeYWhs
Supreme Court Postpones Summer Vacation: To Function till June 19th, 2020.
Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Supreme Court has been hearing only urgent matters through video-conferencing since 25th March. Lawyers and litigants are suspended from entering the premises of the apex court during the nationwide lockdown. Friday, May 15th was the last working day for the SC. It was announced on May 15th that the summer vacation has been deferred through video-conferencing.
As per the October 14 notification, the summer vacation would have started from May 18 and ended on July 5 in the top court. “Summer vacation is usually the time when judges can go to their native places and spend time with their families. However, they have decided to work and clear pendency this time”, said a source from the Supreme Court.
The decision to defer the summer vacation was taken by consensus arrived at among judges through circulation. The court would continue to function through videoconferencing and may have staggered timings for the Benches to ease their video-conferencing caseload. 5 benches shall take up pending and new cases including urgent ones from May 18 till June 19.
Any further plans on whether to continue the functioning or go for a short break to help judges who are stuck due to the lockdown and wish to go back to their native places would be taken after June 19. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde would continue to monitor the situation and ensure that proper safety precautions are being taken within the top level of the legal fraternity.
24×7 efiling Module Paving the Way for Virtual Courts – No Going Back.
Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde at the inauguration of an online demo of the Supreme Court efiling module said;
“We went for video conferencing to reduce the footfall in court premises. We have to change according to the needs of the times. We have to accept the present situation. There is a need for a change of mindset. Now there is no going back,” he said at the inauguration of an online demo of the Supreme Court efiling module, which was webcast.”
Justice DY Chandrachud stressed the need for an efficient justice delivery system and how the 24×7 eFiling Module will assist the apex court with the same.
He said, “We have devised: Efilings, which is available 24/7. Digitalized objection scrutiny mechanism. E-payment of Court fees and incorporating digital signatures. The dashboard will be a comprehensive e-folder of all individual data of respective lawyers”
Need for a Legal Practice Management Software
With a rapid rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases in India, the need for reliable and trustworthy legal case management software which is economic and efficient is imminent.
Legodesk – A Legal Practice Management Software
Your Instant Virtual Law Firm
Legodesk is a cloud-based Legal Practice Management tool for Lawyers, Clients, Students, Companies, Firms, CA, CS, and other professionals who wish to manage their legal matters.
At Legodesk, we bring the best that Technology has to offer to help Lawyers and other stakeholders to improve the quality of their Legal Practice. The features in our product are diligently designed and inspired by observing lawyers and their common practice styles.
Do you need to scan a document for efiling? Planning to whip out your phone to scan your legal documents? Think again.
The SC Documents need to be in a specific format. Furthermore, there are various instructions that need to be followed while scanning and uploading. They include:
- Scan to a PDF in A4 Size only
- Scan at 300 dpi with OCR
- Scan in Black and White only
- File size should be less than 20 MB
- Do not upload files with Password protection
- If the file size exceeds 20 MB limit split such pdf to achieve the file size
- Scanned with mobile in the image format is not advisable
How Legodesk can help with this?
Legodesk’s software is designed to sort all your scanned documents in the prescribed format recommended by the Supreme Court. Furthermore, you can convert any jpg, png, Excel, MS Word Document, and other format files into PDF format. Since all the electronically filed documents on the SC Website must be in PDF format, this is a great tool to have.
Some other vital tasks that a Lawyer has to perform on a typical day include the following:
- Case Management
- Managing Contacts
- Hearing Dates
- Document Management, etc.
Legodesk can help with all of the above and more.
To say that we are living in uncertain times is an understatement. It’s not too late to take back control of the situation. SC has given a green light to handle cases virtually and this can be seen as a golden opportunity for lawyers who are stuck at home unable to manage their clients.
Further, if you are a client and looking for legal representation or advice, then you’re in luck as well because now, you can reach out to local lawyers in your area and avail virtual legal services.