Gauhati High Court, Guwahati
ABOUT GAUHATI HIGH COURT
The Gauhati High Court formerly known as the High Court of Assam was established on 5th April, 1948. It was inaugurated by H.J. Kania, the then Chief Justice of India. Sir R.F. Lodge was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of Assam High court. The Assam High Court initially had its sittings at Shillong but shifted to Gauhati on 14th August, 1948. Later on, the Assam High Court came to be known as the High Court of Assam and Nagaland on the constitution of state of Nagaland; but renamed as Gauhati High Court in 1971 by the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971. The Principal Seat of the Gauhati High Court is at Guwahati, Assam. Apart from the Principal Seat, the High Court has 3(three) outlying Benches. These are Kohima Bench for the State of Nagaland (established on 1.12.1972), Aizawl Bench for the State of Mizoram (established on 5.7.1990) and Itanagar Bench for the State of Arunachal Pradesh (established on 12.8.2000). The Gauhati High Court occupied a unique position of being a common High Court of seven States of North East India, till 23.03.2013, the date of functioning of separate High Courts in Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura. At present, the sanctioned Judge strength of the Gauhati High Court is 24 including the Hon’ble Chief Justice and 6 Additional Judges. Every Judge including the Chief Justice is appointed by the President of India.
E-INITIATIVES AND BEST PRACTICES OF GAUHATI HIGH COURT UNDER THE E-COURTS PROJECT
IMPLEMENTATION OF CIS NC 3.2 IN THE DISTRICT COURTS
CIS NC 3.2 has been implemented in the District and Sub-divisional Courts of Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram. KIOSKs are provided in all the Court Complexes for dissemination of Case Information to the Public, Litigants and Advocates. The Data is also replicated from the Court Complexes to National Judicial Data Grid, wherein all can avail the services from www.ecourts.gov.in. Automated SMS and e-mail services are also made functional for information dissemination.
IMPLEMENTATION OF CIS NC 1.0 IN THE HIGH COURT, PRINCIPAL SEAT & BENCHES
CIS NC 1.0 is implemented in the High Court, Principal Seat and the Benches at Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. The Data is also replicated to National Judicial Data Grid, so as to enable the Public, Litigants and Advocates to avail the services from www.ecourts.gov.in. KIOSKs are provided in the Court premises for dissemination of case information to the Public, Litigants and Advocates.
DISTRICT COURT WEBSITE
Websites in latest Drupal for all the 27 Judicial Districts of Assam are prepared and are active at ecourts.gov.in.
Apart from the Drupal webpages of the respective Districts, own websites for all the 27 Judicial Districts are also functioning.
VIDEO CONFERENCING BETWEEN DISTRICT COURTS AND JAILS
Video Conferencing between District Courts and Jails have started in the State of Assam. Courts are encouraging the Jail Authorities to avail the benefits of Video Conferencing. All the 31 Jails of Assam are connected to the District Courts via the Assam Judicial Network.
COMMISSIONING OF JUDICIAL NETWORK FOR THE STATE OF ASSAM
A unique step is taken by the High Court for commissioning a Judicial Network for the State of Assam. This facilitates seamless data transfer to NJDG and Video Conferencing between Courts and Jails.
An amount of 6.90 and 9.90 crores have been received under Phase II of the e-Courts Project and used for connecting the Courts and State Government fund is made available for connecting the Jails with the Courts.
AWARENESS CAMP ON E-COURTS SERVICES
The Gauhati High Court has taken an initiative to organize awareness camps at District Court Complexes for creating awareness among litigants, advocates and public about the e-Courts services under the e-Courts project. The first awareness camp on e-Courts services was organized at the court complex of District & Sessions Judge, Kamrup, Amingaon, on 8th March, 2018, which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, Judge and Chairperson, ICT Committee, Gauhati High Court. Subsequently, awareness camps were organized at Nalbari and Lakhimpur.
In the awareness camps, the litigants, public and advocates were made aware about various types of information on the NJDG portal as well as on the website of High Court and District Courts. The visitors were taught to use the Information Kiosk for searching information regarding their cases.
The visitors were also enlightened on accessing status of the cases through SMS by entering details of the case as well as their mobile numbers. The visitors were also informed about the e-Courts mobile application.
AWARENESS VIDEO ON E-COURTS SERVICES
On March 4, 2020, the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, Justice Ajai Lamba, released a short film of half an hour duration titled “Ghore Ghore e-Courts” along with an advertisement film of fifty eight seconds on e-Courts Services.
This project is generating awareness regarding benefits of the e-Courts Services among common masses in the local language. It is expected that this would make the court matters more transparent, easier, cost effective as well as time-saving.
VIRTUAL COURT FOR THE STATE OF ASSAM
Virtual courts provide a convenient option for citizens to pay traffic fines online resulting in an efficient and seamless method of dealing with traffic challan. The work of numerous Judicial Officers can be handled by one or a few officers, thus freeing up judicial manpower for essential judicial functions.
In this regard, Gauhati High Court under the aegis of e-Committee, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, has taken up the project of setting of Virtual Courts for traffic violations. Gauhati High Court has taken a proactive role for implementation of e-Challan by the State Police for enabling the Virtual Courts. The e-Courts Division of the High Court went ahead in explaining and implementation of e-Challans to the Police Authorities along with the ease of services offered by the Virtual Courts to the Citizens.
The Virtual Court for the State of Assam, which is the 1st Virtual Court of the North-East India, was inaugurated on 12th November, 2020, by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam, Sri Sarbananda Sonowal in august presence of Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge –cum- Chairperson, e-Committee, Supreme Court of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice N. Kotiswar Singh, Chief Justice (Acting), Gauhati High Court along all the Hon’ble Judges of the Gauhati High Court.
CONDUCT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING
Due to the exigency caused by COVID-19 pandemic, Gauhati High Court took various steps for conducting court proceedings through video conferencing. For smooth functioning of the virtual courts and to minimize the load on the available internet bandwidth, Jitsi open source application was installed in the High Court server and virtual courts were being run within the High Court complex in LAN with the help of Jitsi video conferencing solution. Participation in the court proceeding by the learned Advocate from their residences/chambers was arranged with the help of Vidyo desktop/Vidyo mobile application.
Gauhati High Court adopted the Model Rules on Video Conferencing given by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and notified the Gauhati High Court Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts on 18.05.2020.
District Courts were also using Jitsi open source application in their respective court premises. Besides, the Benches of High Court at Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, along with District Courts of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, were provided guidance to use video conferencing for conducting cases.
COMPOSITION OF HIGH COURT ICT COMMITTEE
The Hon’ble Committee for Information and Communication Technology comprises of the following Hon’ble Judges:
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Suman Shyam
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Kalyan Rai Surana
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Soumitra Saikia
SUMMARY REPORT OF THE E-COURTS PROJECT OF GAUHATI HIGH COURT (ASSAM)
Total Components : 48
Completed : 40
In-progres : 8
Total Amount Received (In Lakh) : 6698.51
Amount for which UC sent (In Lakh): 3879.18
UC Sent (%) : 58