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SC hopes to use its new judicial database with real-time case updates to help reduce delays

The NJDG is a grid that stores case data from all courts in the country. First rolled out in 2015, the data grid will provide updates for all pending and decided cases. 

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New Delhi: Data related to the number of cases pending in the Supreme Court as well those adjudicated will soon be uploaded on the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), a senior officer working at the registry told ThePrint — a development aimed at ushering in more transparency in the functioning of the top court.

NJDG is a consolidated Indian Judicial data warehouse with real-time updates that stores entire judicial case data, including orders and judgements of all courts.

Data about district and taluka courts was the first to be uploaded on the grid that opened for public access in September 2015. More than

2,852 district and taluka courts have joined the data grid since then.

Two years later, the initiative was extended to the country’s 25 high courts.

The senior officer said on the condition of anonymity that the process to collate the data under various categories was done and all technical requirements were met.

“It is just a matter of days before the top court gets linked to the grid,” the officer said.

Under the new NDJG system, information about each pending case in the Supreme Court will be uploaded.

“Feeding of data on Supreme Court cases will help us to analyse the causes of delay in a particular case. This will help us to work out an effective court and case management system,” another officer associated with the project said.

Advocate Prashant Reddy said he hoped the initiative made the judicial process more efficient.

“Simply put, citizens should be able to identify both judges who are performing well and those who are inefficient,” he said. “Mapping disposals to individual judges would be helpful provided citizens are given a tool to measure the ‘weight’ of each case that is disposed of.”

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Judicial efficiency

According to sources, the move to link SC with NDJG has come at the initiative of the e-committee, which is headed by Supreme Court judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

NJDG will allow the authorities to monitor pendency on varied attributes for effective decision making,” an e-committee member told The Print. The pendency of the remotest court of the country can be easily traced with NJDG.

The real-time statistics of NJDG can be used by administrative judges to draft policy planning for effective court and case management, performance appraisal of a judicial officer, and digital inspection of courts, among other things, the e-committee member said.

Currently, there are two data grids functioning – one for district and taluka courts and the other for high courts – with information about more than 16.97 crore pending and disposed cases.

As on 9 May, 2022, the database shows that nearly 3.26 crore cases have been disposed of by district and taluka courts since 2015, and more than 1.08 crore civil cases are pending. Under the category of criminal cases, 3.06 crore matters are still pending and over 9.11 crore got decided. The total number of orders related to district judiciary available on NDJG are of more than 17 crore matters.

In high courts, there are over 59 lakh cases pending, of which more than 42 lakh are civil and 16 are criminal. A little over 3.33 crore cases – 2.10 crore civil and 1.22 crore criminal — have been disposed of.

The statistics are updated every day by the respective courts across the country. This data can be used for data mining, online analytical processing, business intelligence and integration with interoperable Criminal Justice System, the e-committee member said.

“The vast information is a treasure trove to the policymakers but getting information from the enormous amount of data was a tedious task,” said the e-committee member.

The technical team of the e-courts project has used new technological tools for providing useful information, he said. With the new system in place, a query builder tool can be used to generate the customisable report, as required by the respective courts.

“One can generate reports age-wise, stage-wise, case type-wise list, orders not uploaded list, undated cases list of every court,” the member added.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

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