Intern, Legal Angles Patna
An article discussing the need of e-filing of court cases, its advantages, and the methodology for the same. The E – Committee of Supreme Court of India has designed, and set up e-filing application which, enables the electronic filing of legal papers (e-filing). By e-filing method, Supreme Court of India has made the filing of cases easy in the lockdown period amid pandemic. Videoconferencing facilities introduced in the wake of the lockdown had overcome the initial glitches, and is being successfully deployed for the hearings.
The E-Committee of the Supreme Court of India has designed and set up a the e-filing application, which enables electronic filing of legal papers(e-filing). Using the e-filing, cases (both civil and criminal) can be filed before all High Courts and Subordinate Courts that adopt this e-filing system. Introduction of e-filing system is aimed at promoting paperless filing and create time and cost saving efficiencies by adopting technological solution to file cases before courts of India. Here, the methodology will be discussed in brief.
E-filing enhances the right of citizens to efficient justice delivery, and ensure that the Judiciary continues to be inclusive. The opening of e-seva kendras in all courts in the country for making e services available is a step in that direction.
The effort must be to provide sustainable digitization and bring about a transformational change in reconceptualising the interactions between citizens, lawyers, the judiciary, and the environment.
The very first thing to be made a note of is that, the person filing an e-case must be a registered Advocate on the government E-Filing portalhttps://www.efiling.ecourts.gov.in unless the person filing the case is a registered advocate, S/he cannot file an e-case.
After browsing the link above, select the ‘State’ which the petitioner belongs to, as a result of which it will show the state’s High Court, and pop the options for the several District Courts of the state.
Post selecting the state of domicile, the petitioner has to login with the registered ID and Password. In case, s/he forgets the password, they can login with registered mobile number, and the login will be successful.
On the government’s official e-filing webpage, the very first page is occupied by ‘Dashboard’. Dash board is the most important page from where, the person filing the case can keep track of the e filed cases digitally under two heads
· My e-filing status
· My e-filed cases.
The e-filingstatus shows the cases pending for acceptance , the cases not accepted, cases which have deficit court fees, the cases pending for scrutiny, and which are defective. There is another option under Draft where one can store all their drafts which are ready for e-filing.
Under e-filed cases, the petitioner can see their list of e-filed cases, e-filed documents, deficit court fee paid, the list of Interlocutory Applications(IA), the list of Rejected Cases, the list of Idle/ Unprocessed e-Filed cases. So once the person e-files the case, s/he can keep track of the case digitally using dashboard option without even visiting the court complex.
After logging in, as mentioned above, the page welcomes with the dashboard. The ‘filing menu list’ rests on the left hand side of the page. In the e-filing menu list, click on the option which says ‘New Case’, the option will further be processed to the option where to file the case, High Court or Lower Court. After the petitioner selects either of the courts, s/he has to select the following particulars :
· civil or criminal
· Matter Type
· Case Type
· whether it is MACT case or not
· whether it is an ordinary or Urgent matter
The petitioner , now has to fill up the digital forms generated. Though there are optional forms and optional fields it is advisable to fill up all the details because only then the petitioner can have a complete digital picture of their e-filed case. And, after filling up each and every form click “SAVE” and then “NEXT”.
The Complainant/Petitioner form is generated, wherein, the petitioner needs to fill her/his details. And the fields with red star are mandatory. But it is advisable to completely fill up all the details. For example the mail is given as optional, but only when it is filled up, the person can get various alerts to the inbox from the e-courts services. Hence fill up all details and click “SAVE” and then “NEXT” .
The Saved Form will generate an e-filing Number at the Right Top. It can be noted as the reference number of the petitioner.
Now, the Respondent form is generated. The respondent form is quite similar to the petitioner form, and hence the petitioner is required to fill up all the details relating to the respondent and click “SAVE” and then “NEXT”.
There is also an ‘Extra Information Form’, wherein if the person wishes to fill up any extra information regarding complainant or accused, like the Passport number,Pan card number, Fax number, Phone number, Alternate Address, it can be filled up under this form. Though this form is optional it is advisable that these all particulars to be filled up as far as possible. After filling up the extra information, click on Save button and; then Click on Next button, but if the person does not want to fill the extra information about the Complainant/Petitioner or Accused/Respondent then directly click on the Next button.
The Extra Party information arises in cases where there are more than one parties on the Complainants/Accused side or on the Petitioners/Respondents side or on both sides. Though this Form is also optional, it is highly recommended that it need to be filled up because once this form is submitted it cannot be modified later.
The page further generates a form called ‘Case Details’. The Case Details Form contain the particulars of Cause of Action Details/ Date/ Dispute Place, the claim amount, Any Important Information/ Subject/ Reason, the Prayer, Relief Particulars.
Hide party is an important option in Case details form. In case of offenses against women and children, POSCO act matrimonial disputes wherever law mandates the protection of the identity of the Victim or petitioner then this option should be enabled so that the privacy of the petitioner will be protected and the mandate of law can be complied with. Hence the identity of the Hide party option enabled person will not be revealed in the digital screens.
Fill the details of the Act and Section and save the details and then click Next to move to the next form.
There are three options in ‘Signing’:
· upload and later one-signing Using Aadhaar
· upload using digital signature digital token.
· upload and later on e-signing using mobile OTP.
Any one option can be chosen, and then proceed further by clicking SAVE and NEXT.
For uploading the documents to the page, choose the following particulars, the document type,document title and attach the document file which should not be more than 50 MB and click upload. The uploaded document will be displayed. If the person has wrongly uploaded any document s/he can use the delete option and the delete it Then, they may upload the correct document. Once all the documents are uploaded, do the same, click on Next button.
For payment of court fee, the petitioner can make online payment or through Challan payment and upload the challan details. After filing up payment details and clicking submit button, then click on Next button.
The Affirmation and Verification the applicant requires the following details, i.e., the name of the applicant, and the mobile number of the applicant. After filling the above details, click on OTP, put the received OTP, and follow the same step as above, click next.
The verification of the Advocate requires the following details, i.e., the name of advocate, and the mobile number of the advocate. The OTP will be received, fill the OTP, and click next.
After filling up all the details, the filled up form details can be viewed using the ‘EXPAND ALL” option or click on + to view the details against each category.After checking all the details click the option “FINAL SUBMIT”. After final submit the petitioner will get the message that the e-filing case number XXXX submitted successfully for approval of e-filing admin.
Generate acknowledgment for filing by clicking on ‘Pending Acceptance’ option in the dashboard. From the files in the “Pending Acceptance option”. Click on the e-Filing Acknowledgment button Now, the e-filing acknowledgment gets downloaded automatically in PDF form.
In quite a similar manner, the case party details can be generated by clicking on the ‘case parties’ option.
Lastly, petitioner can log out from the current session by going to the Home in the dashboard and then click on the log out icon on the right side top of the screen.
In this digital era, that too amid a pandemic, the e-filing of cases has several pros associated to it. E-filing saves time, money, and transportation costs. Further, it also reduces delays in retrieving court documents. It also enhances the virtual filing accessibility from the convenience of home or the office. E-filing also helps enable attorneys, and court clerks to work more efficiently by reducing the time, and effort needed to manage case files. This e-service allows most legal professionals (attorneys and paralegals) to receive notices, orders, and judgments from the court electronically, and in an eco-friendly manner.
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