Information and communication technology (ICT) can strengthen the legal and judicial system of India to a great extent. It can also help in reducing backlog of cases, increasing the efficiency and bringing transparency in legal and judicial functioning. Two prominent examples of use of ICT for Indian legal and judicial systems are establishment of e-courts in India and use of online dispute resolution (ODR) for resolving various disputes, including those pertaining to e-commerce.
Similarly, technology can be used for providing statements and evidence through video conferencing, sending of legal notices, sending of bail orders, etc. An increased use of video conferencing for commercial, legal and personal reasons is also a good example of use of technology.
If we analyse the recent trend, an increased number of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), citizens of Indian origin and non residents are increasingly relying upon video conferencing for complying with legal procedures applicable in India and other jurisdictions, lawsuits and various forms of statutory certificates.
Recently, the passport of business tycoon Vijay Mallya was revoked by Indian government. Now he plans to approach the High Court to challenge such revocation and he has also shown his willingness to be questioned through video conference, an offer that the Enforcement Directorate turned down. Similarly, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), who are involved in various litigations in India, have requested the authorities to record their statements through video conferencing. The NRIs are of the opinion that video conferencing is a cost-effective measure, as they do not have to fly down to India for recording their statements. Besides, it will also spare them other botheration such as shuttling from one office to another and fear of being implicated in a false case.
After a UK-based woman, who had levelled rape charges against Indian Hockey team Captain Sardar Singh, told the police that she would be available to record her statement through video conferencing, another Canadian NRI woman has requested the city police that she would join investigation through videoconferencing.
We at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) strongly recommend that video conferencing laws, regulations and guidelines are urgently needed in India. This would help in a proper handling of various online matters that require a techno legal orientation. Indian government is pushing digital India project that would also require e-delivery of services in India that would include video conferencing facilities and legal framework for the same as well.
Presently, physical presence of the applicant is the rule in India and testimony through video conferencing is the exception. This may remain so for some more time except for selective few services and legal areas where video conferencing is specifically allowed. Nevertheless, few good steps in this regard have already been taken in India. P4LO hopes that Indian government would consider these aspects with all urgency and sincerity.