50 paperless courts inaugurated in 23 districts of Odisha

Cuttack: About 50 paperless courts covering 23 districts of Odisha were inaugurated today in virtual mode by Orissa High Court Chief Justice Dr Justice S Muralidhar in presence of Justice S Talapatra, Chairman, Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology Committee of the High Court.

Members of the Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology Committee and the Judges of the High Court were also present on the occasion. The function was attended by Advocate General Ashok Kumar Parija and Chief Executive Officer, OCAC.

District Judges and judicial officers of the State joined the event through virtual mode.

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Earlier on 17 September, 2022, 34 paperless courts covering all the 30 districts were inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India. In the Valedictory Ceremony of the National Conference on digitisation, e-initiatives and paperless courts held at Cuttack on 5th and 6th May, 2023, the Chief Justice on behalf of the High Court had pledged to open 100 paperless courts in the State within three months.

With the inauguration of 50 new paperless courts, the Orissa High Court has come good on its pledge and the number of paperless courts in the District Judiciary of the State has reached 84.

In near future, 50 more paperless courts are planned to be inaugurated, an official source said.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Justice S Muralidhar said, “Inauguration of 50 paperless courts in the second phase is yet another milestone crossed by the Odisha judiciary and this is a work in progress and the next 50 paperless courts will be made functional in a month’s time.”

The Chief Justice stated that preparatory training to the paperless courts has been imparted to judicial officers across the State by master-trainer judicial officers and a technical team headed by the Central Project Coordinator. He complimented the judiciary for taking the lead in adapting technology for the functioning of Courts. He said Covid pandemic caused acceleration of use of technology in judiciary and technology would change the way Judicial Officers approach their work.

Sharing his experience, the Chief Justice said that working in Paperless Court makes it much easier for the Judge to access the relevant documents in digital case records which is far more difficult in voluminous physical records and it leaves a positive impact on the mindset of the Judge.

Citing the problem of digital divide among the lawyers, the Chief Justice said that free bookmarked softcopies of the paper books supplied by the lawyers would be provided to them which would be a great incentive for the younger lawyers to get on to the e-mode. He emphasized on the impact of paperless court on the reconfiguration of space and the whole architecture of the Court.

All the measures of digitisation, e-filing and paperless courts are to make access to justice more affordable, more efficient and more effective, the Chief Justice further said.

Dr Muralidhar thanked OCAC for the technical support.

Justice S Talapatra said that the judiciary believes in the exercise of ethical expansion of technology in judiciary. He stressed upon the need of using technology for benefit of the poor. Justice Talapatra congratulated the judicial officers who have come forward to make their courts paperless.

Odisha Judiciary has been harnessing technology to make justice accessible to the common citizens and this has received accolades from various quarters, Justice Talapatra expressed.

Dr Justice Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi presented the vote of thanks and said, “While the western countries are still struggling to make paperless courts functional, the vision and guidance of Dr S Muralidhar has made Odisha achieve this milestone even in district level. With the inauguration of these 50 Paperless Courts, Ganjam became the first district in Odisha to have all the Courts paperless.

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