Role of ICT in Judicial reforms , 6th Nov 2009
Sri Veerappa Moily ji – Honorable Minister for Law and Justice, Shri Venugopal Dhoot ji – Chairman CMAI, Shri Wajahat Habibullah ji – Chief Information Commissioner , Shri D R Meena ji – Secretary (Law) , Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice-Chancellor, IGNOU , Shri CP Gurnanai – CEO of Mahindra Satyam, Shri Tanmoy Chakrabarty – Vice President of TCS, Shri NK Goyal – President CMAI , Distinguished Guests , Friends from ICT Industry and Media , Ladies and Gentlemen
Shri Venugopal ji has just shared his views on the role of ICT in Judicial reforms and he quoted some very relevant examples of some countries , where ICT reforms have been very very successful.
I would like to take few minutes to highlight the objectives of this seminar .
As you may be aware , CMAI is the only ICT Association, which has all stake holders of ICT Industry.. as its members including Service providers , Operators , Infrastructure providers and Vendors. The objectives of CMAI is to create a platform, where all stake holders of Telecom/ IT Industry , Policy Makers and International Associations can work together
– For creating value for the Indian Telecom / IT Sector
– To ensure Quality and Affordable Products & Services to the Indian consumers.
The very thought about the subject of seminar was driven from the overall objective of CMAI and our discussions with Shri Dhoot.
1. The first objective of seminar is to discuss the ways in which ICT can make a real difference in delivering the justice to the common citizen of India. I have read in the news paper that the current backlog of cases in courts will take more than 300 years to clear ..even if we do not consider new cases to be filed in those years. To get justice in reasonable time is a big challenge .
And To my mind …process of justice passes through 4 stages and they are
a. Process of Filing the case
b. Process of Hearing of case
c. Process of Delivery of Judgment
d. And making information of the judgment available to others.
To bring efficiency , we must reform all 4 stages .
While I leave it to experts to tell us how much improvement ICT can make in delivery of judgment , I am sure that ICT can contribute a lot in improving efficiency of Filing process, Hearing process and making the information on judgment available to public at large. We shall hear the views of experts shortly on this.
2. The second objective of seminar is to deal with a very important yet a neglected issue and this relates to the consumers of Mobile services. India today has 500 million mobile customers and expected to grow to a base of 800 million customers in next 4-5 years. This is one service , which is being used 24×7 by maximum number of Indians. The only other service, that comes little close …is the electricity. While uses of electricity can be planned and also there are alternate methods to fulfill the need of electricity , there is practically no alternate to mobile services. Additionally , the collateral damages due to poor mobile services are very high.
Yet , it’s really difficult for a mobile consumer to address his complaint if the operator does not suitably address his issues. The most common complaints are : Call drops , unsatisfactory customer service and billing issues.
The only forum today …for such consumers is TRAI but TRAI is not really equipped to handle individual complaints. This does not leave …any recourse to the troubled consumer.. And there is practically no place ..Where he can approach for quick justice.
Considering the fact that Mobile services are to be used by 800 million people , it is high time that some appropriate steps are taken by Government to deal with the situation.
Therefore , the second objective of today’s seminar is to highlight the need for special efforts in addressing the issue of rights of Mobile consumers.
CMAI , would request Honorable Minister to consider setting up special and exclusive “Mobile Consumer Courts” . The Mobile consumer courts can be set up on the same line as that of existing consumer courts. It will go a long way in protecting the rights of mobile consumers and at the same time will make operators much more conscious towards quality of network and customer service.
After speaking about these 2 objectives of this seminar , I would like to say something in wider context.
Based on culture , performance and objectivity – various countries can be divided in 3 main categories – Un-successful Countries ( we need not look very far to find some of them) , successful countries and Great countries.
Our leaders , constitution , democratic system , Government , Industrialists , workers , farmers and common man – all of them have put in their herculean efforts in making our country – India – as a successful country. We are reconised worldwide today for our performance and potential.
But .. How can we become a great country ?
There could be many things , which are required for us in becoming a great country and I am not discussing those qualities and requirements here in this seminar. But one thing , without which , no country can become a great country – and that is …its ability to deliver justice to every citizen and in reasonable time frame.
In childhood , every time there was a description of a great king , it used to be like this “ there was a great king with the name xxx. He was very fair and always used to do justice to its citizen”.
In my view , if we are ambitious for becoming Great country then we have to do several reforms in the legal process …i.e.
To make justice process simple ,
To make justice available to everyone
To deliver justice within reasonable time.
I know it’s a very big ambitious but I am sure that under the leadership of Honorable Minister , the Government will take steps to fulfill this ambition.
A lot has been done and we all recognise that. But much more needs to be done and we should be conscious of that.
Before I finish my address , I would like to say 2 lines in Hindi , which I find are most appropriate to define the challenging situation today :
ज़िन्दगी की असली उड़ान अभी बाकी है ,
आपके इरादों का इम्तेहान अभी बाकी है ,
अभी तो नापी है मुठ्ठी भर ज़मीन आपने ,
आपके इरादों का आसमान अभी बाकी है !
Thank you !