ICT INITIATIVES

PAPERLESS COURTS

On 17th September, 2022, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, the Chief Justice of India, in the presence of Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Chairperson, e-Committee and Justice M.R. Shah, Judge, Supreme Court of India and the Chief Justice and the companion judges of the High Court of Orissa inaugurated 34 Paperless Courts in the District Courts of Odisha. Odisha is perhaps the first state in the country where there are Paperless Courts in all the districts. The aim is to increase this number progressively so that every court in Odisha is enabled to become paperless by the end of 2023. In the High Court, after the first Paperless Court, being the court of the Chief Justice was inaugurated on 11th September 2021, 10 benches of the High Court at present are functioning in paperless mode. The IT and AI Committee is also functioning in paperless mode.

Inauguration of paperless Courts in the Districts

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Paperless Courts in Cuttack

Paperless Courts in Bhubaneswar

INAUGURATION OF VIRTUAL COURTROOMS

Having put in place the policy framework and sensitized Judicial Officers to resort to video conferencing for hearing of cases, it was decided to provide fully equipped, state of theart Virtual Courtrooms in other districts as well. This would allow the Presiding Officers to conduct hybrid hearings as is being done intheHighCourt,where the witnesses would be able to depose from remote locations convenient to them without compromising the facility of seamless examination, cross- examination by Advocates or interaction with the Court.

On 1st November,2021,Dr.Justice D.Y.Chandrachud, Judge, SupremeCourt of India and Chairperson, e-Committee had inaugurated two Model Virtual Courtroomsin the District Court complexes of Angul and Nayagarh.

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As of 31st December,2022,Virtual Courtrooms have been established in the District Courts of Angul,Balangir,Bargarh,Bhadrak, Boudh, Cuttack, Deogarh, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Kendrapada, Khurda, Koraput, Malkangiri,Nabarangpur,Nayagarh,Nuapada, Puri, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Sundargarh.

INAUGURATION OF WITNESSES DEPOSITION CENTRES

The Vulnerable Witnesses Deposition Centres (VWDCs) serve the primary purpose of enabling the witnesses in trials, both criminal and civil, to depose without any fear or intimidation.AVWDC comprises three rooms: a virtual court room with electronic devices and cameras, including a screened chamber for the accused, a separate witness waiting room and a witness deposition room from where the witness can speak without having to physically faced the accused.

Following a visit by Sri Biswajit Mohanty, the then Registrar (Admn.) to Delhi in October, 2021 to study the VWDCs in operation in the District Courts there; on pilot basis 2 VWDCs were inaugurated in the District Courts of Bhadrak and Malkangiri on 18thand 28th December, 2021 respectively. Following the directions issued by the Supreme Court of India for setting up of VWDCs in its judgment dated 11th January, 2022 in Smruti Tukaram Badade v. State of Maharashtra (2022) SCC Online SC 78,13 VWDCs were in augurated by Dr.JusticeD.Y.Chandrachud on 2nd April,2022. On 14th May,2022, Judge,Supreme Court of Indiain presence of Justice L.Nageswara Rao, Judge, Supreme Court of India in presence of Ms. Justice Gita Mittal, former Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and Chairperson, Vulnerable Witness Committee and the Chief Justice & Judges of High Court of Orissa inaugurated the Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centres and Virtual Courtrooms in District Court complexes. There are VWDCs in every district of the State of Odisha.

PAPERLESS OFFICE (OJWAS)

On 2nd April, 2022, Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India in the presence of Chief Justice & Hon’ble Judges of High Court of Orissa inaugurated Paperless Office i.e. the Odisha Judicial Workflow Automation System (OJWAS). This meant that the office of the Chief Justice on the admin side is able to operate entirely in a paperless mode dispensing with offices of the Registry having to be physically present with files for approval of the Chief Justice. Further this facility can be accessed by the Chief Justice and offices of the Registry from their respective workplaces and residences. This happens on a Virtual Private Network with utmost security. This has resulted in speeding of the decisionmaking process in a significant way.

TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) who had devised the Paperless Office system in the Secretariat of the Odisha Government have adapted and customized it as OJWAS for the High Court.

DISTRICT COURT DIGITIZATION CENTRES

On 30th April, 2021, 4 District Court Digitization Centres (DCDCs) were established at Cuttack, Sambalpur, Ganjam and Balasore, Following the completion of one year of DCDCs was celebrated on 30th April, 2022. As of 31st December, 2022, the total of 6,61,204 case records have been scanned and 5,43,165 case records have been uploaded.

( Celebration on completion of 1 Year of DCDC at Balasore and Ganjam at Berhampur )

More than a year has elapsed since establishment of 4 DCDC’s and the statistics reveal considerable progress in digitization of records. The statistics of scanning and digitization at the DCDCs from 1st January, 2022 till 30th November 2022 stand as follows:

DISTRICT COURT DIGITIZATION HUBS

Following on the experience of 4 DCDCs, it was decided to expand on the activities of digitization of District Court records. Instead of opening a separate DCDC in each of the remaining District, it was decided, keeping in view the number of records to be digitized, single court hubs in 10 locations which would cover each of the neighbouring districts. Thus, it was decided to have District Court Digitization Hubs (DCDHs) at the following locations:

On 12th December, 2022, Dr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud, Chief Justice of India had inaugurated the above 10 District Court Digitization Hubs in the Judgeships of Angul, Bhadrak, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarh and Sonepur in virtual mode in the presence of Chief Justice and the Judges of the High Court of Orissa.

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ONE YEAR OF THE RECORD ROOM DIGITIZATION CENTRE

The completion of the first year of the Record Room Digitization Centre (RRDC) of the High Court of Orissa was celebrated on 9th September, 2022 .

Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Chairperson, e-Committee had inaugurated the RRDC on 11th September, 2021. The High Court was fortunate to have him also present on the occasion of completion of one year of the RRDC. The event was attended by Justice R.C. Chavan, ViceChairman, e-Committee.Also present were the Chief Justice, the Chairman and Members of the RRDC Committee, all the Judges of the High Court, Dr. R. Balakrishnan, the Chief Advisor to the Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha, Shri Prasanna Kumar Parhi, Assistant Solicitor General of India for the High Court of Orissa and Office Bearers of the High Court Bar Association. All employees of the RRDC whose contribution have been instrumental for its success also attended the function.

Completion of one year of RRDC

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As on 31st December, 2022, 6,54,243 records have been verified and 3,08,015 records have been shredded at the RRDC. The statistical snapshot of the work of the RRDC as on 31st December, 2022 is set out below:

E-LIBRARIES

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the High Court of Orissa decided to provide e-library facilities to the lawyers practising in the 30 District Courts and 2 outlying stations of Koraput and Rourkela. This involves setting up of the e-library rooms with 2 personal computers and with network connectivity, free subscriptions of All India Reporter (AIR), Manupatra for one year and providing an updatable CD ROM of the Orissa Law Times (OLT). A set of instructions have been drawn up for operation of the e-libraries (Appendix G). This facility was inaugurated on 22nd March, 2022 by the Chief Justice in the presence of the Judges of the High Court in virtual mode.

(Left to Right) e-libraries at Angul, Deogarh and Koraput

SCC ONLINE FACILITY FOR JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND CASE LAW PORTAL

On 21st February, 2022, everyone of the 782 Judicial Officers in Odisha was provided of the SCC Online facility. This gives them access to the various judgements of the Tribunals, High Courts and Supreme Court of India as well as statutes, bills in parliament and articles.

On 13th May, 2022, an online web platform called the Case Law Portal (CLP) was launched for enabling Judicial Officers to share and read case law summaries and commentaries. CLPs have been made accessible at an IP address. Access is permitted only to Judicial Officers who are assigned unique login credentials.

The SCC Online facility provided to Judicial Officers enables accessing and reading any case law for the above purpose. Judicial Officers have been encouraged to form study circles to share the knowledge gleaned from accessing these facilities.

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E-FILING 3.0

The e-Committee of the Supreme Court has provided an upgraded e-filing 3.0 software which is being adopted by the High Court for the purposes of e-filing of cases in the High Court and District Courts. The e-filing 3.0 version was inaugurated on 2nd April 2022 by Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in the prrsence of the Chief Justice and judges of the High Court.

INAUGURATION OF E-FILING STATIONS AND HELPDESKS

On 4th February, 2022, District level e-Filing Stations and Helpdesks were inaugurated at the District Court complexes at Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara, besides launching of Handson Training Programme for e-filing and e-services for the Advocates in both districts.

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On 5th March, 2022, three e-filing stations at the District Court complexes of Sundargarh, Deogarh and the Civil Court complex at Rourkela were inaugurated. On 20th March, 2022, another e-filing station in the District Court complex at Gajapati was inaugurated.

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The e-filing stations and helpdesks are equipped with high power scanners, allin-one computers with two-way screens, accessibility to the internet and a dedicated operator trained in e-filing to provide e-filing related assistance to Advocates and litigants. Judicial Officer- Master Trainers travelled from various parts of the State to impart hands-on training on usage of e-Services such as e-Filing, e-Payment of Court Fee etc to trainee Advocates of Rourkela, Deogarh and Gajapati.

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PARALLEL AND ADDITIONAL NETWORK CONNECTIVITY

Adoption of technology centric processes such as Video Conferencing to conduct Court proceeding, electronic filing of cases, timely litigation data sharing through customized web portals, making Court’s orders and judgments available to litigants in electronic form etc. have helped the Courts in keeping the Constitutional guarantee of access to justice alive during the pandemic. It has underscored the need for reliable and continuous network connectivities.

Accordingly, a parallel network connectivity (MPLS VPN Connectivity) from the RailTel Corporation of India through the State Government has been implemented in the High Court as well as in the 30 District Courts. This facility was launched on 14th May, 2022.

LAUNCH OF E-NOTIFICATION SYSTEM

On 3rd January, 2022, the High Court launched the e-Notification System (e-NS). This is one of the application modules used for generation and circulation of Court’s notices and notifications in electronic mode for the purpose of convenient and speedy circulation of such notices and notifications and to reduce usage of paper. This module is available within the Court’s secure network and can be accessed through devices connected through such network.