Friday, August 31, 2012

Court notices may soon be posted on HC website

In a step towards making court work paperless, the Gujarat high court administration is coming up with an alternative system to inform litigants about notices and summons issued to them by judges. After the new system is implemented, the notices and summons issued to respondents will appear on the high court's official website.

“We are working on this plan to do away with the time-consuming process of sending notices by post or serving summons on litigants,” said a top official of the high court's information technology department.

“In the new system, the respondents will be able to see on the court's website, the notices and summons issued to them by judges. Government departments and companies who are aware of the cases related to them would benefit the most from the new system,” the official said. Incidentally, the current system of sending notices and summons by post or by private courier will continue even after the alternative system is implemented.

It is pertinent to note that all daily orders and judgments of the high court are made available on the court's website. Now the notices and summons issued to litigants will also be visible on the official website of the high court and it can be accessed by typing in the case number or the name of the litigant or lawyer.

“However, the plan is subject to approval of the E-Committee of the high court, comprising three judges,” the official said.

The new system is expected to ensure that respondent parties do not skip their appearance in court claiming that they had not received the court notice due to postal delay or it was not sent to their official or residential address.

Judges issue notices to respondents, including government authorities, private companies, firms and individuals, in response to the petitions filed before them. As common practice, the notices are sent to the respondents by the high court administration branch or through direct service by lawyers or their clients via registered post or private courier. The respondent parties must appear before the court and file a reply to the petition by hiring a lawyer or appearing individually.

However, in some cases, respondents don't appear before the court and then claim that they could not appear due to postal delay or because they had not received the notices or that they were not available at their addresses.