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IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON OUR LEGAL SYSTEM AND FUTURE OF VIRTUAL COURTS IN INDIA

During the Second World War, when the Luftwaffe (German air force) was wreaking havoc over London with its incessant bombing attacks, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill took cognizance of the heavy casualties and economic devastation. While he was briefed on the casualties and economic collapse, he asked, “Are the courts functioning?” When told that the judges were dispensing justice as normal, Churchill replied, “Thank God. If the courts are working, nothing can go wrong.”

The Covid 19 isn’t the first and genuinely will not be the closing of the pandemics. Throughout history, Bacilli, microbes and viruses have attacked human societies. Humans in flip have organised defences in opposition to the invading hordes of micro-organisms. The earliest recorded pandemic is the Plague of Athens 429–426 BC. Since then century after century plagues and other pandemic infections have ravaged each continent in the world in almost each century. Smallpox cholera, yellow fever, influenza, typhoid the bubonic plague, measles, the Nipah virus, HIV AIDS have taken tens of millions of lives. At the forefront of this conflict has been scientists and doctors at remarkable personal threat carried on and conquered and contained each this type of microorganisms.

Much like different sectors, the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has the potential to impact the judicial  framework globally. It would possibly convey manpower rationalization, closure of enterprise units, disruptions in supply  chains and non-overall performance of contracts and calling-off of projects among other things. This will add to the present caseload in Indian courts. This requires a proactive approach to insulate the judicial system  from a likely breakdown.

But, every problem   brings in its wake opportunities. Covid-19 can be leveraged to introduce the extra use of modern way  to enhance the accessibility and affordability of the system for litigants. During the lockdown, some benches of the Supreme Court and excessive courts efficiently heard critical cases thru the virtual medium. But to make it work effectively throughout the country, the process have to be intensified and widened to equip each court with the right technology and bandwidth.

The use of technology isn’t easy medium. Considerable work has to be performed in integrating and linking systems and data, harmonising procedures, and developing user-friendly digital structures. For instance, within the United States, the legal fraternity started out the use of generation over a decade ago. It required meticulous making plans and implementation, which was complete and capable enough to attend to all feasible disruptions the system ought to cause. Instead of reinventing the wheel, India can borrow from the upper hand that America has.

With Covid-19 shutting the country, it will probably carry a groundswell of cases that will pay attention on force majeure, because the parties concerned in contracts may be willing to find an escape-path invoking the disruptions inside the supply chain and other eventualities.

Under Indian and English law, force majeure does not actually mean anything outside the control of the parties to a settlement. Its meaning and applicability depend upon the wording of an agreement supposed to anticipate unforeseen events and remedies for that. Implicit in it’s miles the feasible variance in the force majeure clauses incorporated in contracts. There are opportunities that some contracts won’t have visualised such an eventuality or have opted for a constrained narration of the clause.

Much as the judicial world, Covid-19 has precipitated fear among each employees and employers approximately the continuity of employment and operations of businesses, which can be affected throughout sectors. Even if the lockdown is lifted within the close to future, its impact might be felt for long. Some business entities are already considering shutdowns, others are scaling down, and some, including the general public zone undertakings, have announced pay cuts and retrenchment of agreement workers.

With the quantum of litigation expected to move up, alternative dispute settlement mechanisms along with mediation have to be used to remedy the cases, in particular related to tenancy, employment, deferment of loans, and the hobby chargeable. The cases decided ought to have finality, with appeals going to High courts under rare instances. To take care of the instances of litigation efficiently, cross-country special courts and benches need to also be considered.

Covid-19 also necessitates amendments to some of existing laws to make them contextual to the change. Legislations consisting of Indian Contract Act, Indian Evidence Act, Intellectual Property Rights, labour legal guidelines, Disaster Management Act and Epidemics Act want to be reviewed to align them with the changes in the monetary and legal framework.

FUTURE OF JUDICARY: IN THE HANDS OF TECHNOLOGY

With our country gradually embracing modernisation and progressing towards the realisation of a ‘Digital India’, governance, as we know it has converted into a two-way channel of communique between the Government and its citizens.

Citizens’ expectancies from the authorities have increased they anticipate the equal or higher developed  digital services from the ruling party as they could from commercial organizations. This shows that figuring out smarter ways of operating across public services which includes the judicial management has never been extra relevant. Providing transparent, accessible, and responsive public sector services is the want of the hour.

One of the recent trends that the government has undertaken to satisfy these expectations is digitization of judicial  systems inside the country. The Centre has requested all states to link prisons with courts through video conferencing for expeditious trial and to save costs of escorting undertrials to courts.

Current Justice

Currently, among the foremost contributory factors to delays in transfer cases to court and indeed, allotting justice area unit lack of hands, transparency and inadequate knowledge on unfinished cases. These challenges area unit creating it troublesome to contour India’s justice system.

Collaboration technology, above all video conferencing is the savior to revamp India’s legal processes, by providing those important communication links between courtrooms, offices, visitation centres or prisons, whereas decreasing time period, security risks, and inmate transportation prices for the judicatory.

Technology based justice for Indian Courtrooms

Video conferencing these days isn’t what it accustomed be. High-quality collaboration technologies provide seamless network, crystal clear audio and video capabilities and content sharing services because of these advancements, “in-person” currently has changed its meaning.

Secure video conferencing technology, for instance, connects those in remote geographies, moreover as those with disabilities, budgetary, or travel-limiting restrictions to the system with convenience and negligible value.

By adopting a powerful collaboration resolution, Courts can:

Speed up the Justice method – Time spent traveling to and from the court is reduced or eliminated, that permits for bigger productivity for judges and attorneys. With less time wasted in jaunt the court, a lot of cases is handled and at a quicker pace. This enhances the justice expertise for voters as they pay less time awaiting the time looking forward to the legal method to unfold, selections upon which regularly have major impacts on their lives and businesses.

Enable higher witness protection services for victims of crimes those people who are battered or abused or those that have at large from human trafficking who could also be too traumatized or vulnerable to face the defendant in court will use solutions like video conference to feel safe and secure.

Share vital resources:  Courthouses and even courts will share vital foreign language or signing interpreters. Given the big range of languages spoken in Bharat, it’s crucial to share these human resources to confirm that the correct interpreter, particularly a court-certified interpreter, is offered once and wherever required.

Help judges work from anyplace: Judges will stay connected from remote locations and residential offices whereas maintaining lines of communication with officers and magistrates for off-hours, time-sensitive hearings, like for arrest warrants.

In addition, it also helps:

Provide inmates with access to physicians while not being concerned concerning problems with distance and safety. Telehealth video solutions enable tending professionals to remotely offer access to medical services whereas increasing public safety and driving down the price of those services.

Reintroduce categories and continue teaching programs as a basis for brand spanking new careers upon inmates’ re-entry into society.

Delays in administering justice, a build-up of case files, and overworked legal groups are long-standing problems within the Indian judiciary. However, quick forward to nowadays, because of advancements in network property, technology and also the government’s target digitisation, the country has the chance to be one amongst the well organised  legal systems within the world.

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