My esteemed colleagues; Mr. Lalit Sharma, Advisor to the Administrator, U.T.; Shri Hawa Singh Hooda, Advocate General, Haryana; Shri H.S.Mattewal, Advocate General, Punjab' Judicial Officers; Trainee Judicial Officers and friends from the media.

          Today is a momentous day for all of us.  From today, the first phase of e-courts project will start to unfold.  I trust, you are aware of the fact that on the initiative of Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, the Government of India has set up a committee, popularly known as e-committee, to assist him in formulating a national policy on computerization of Indian judiciary and advising him on technological; communication and management related reforms.  To be implemented in three phases spread over a period of five years, the project would cost Rs. 854 crore.  Digital inter-connectivity would be established between all courts from the Taluka level to the Apex Court.

          The other features in the first phase is the creation of a well-structured database of all the stakeholders, courts and cases with user-friendly retrievable facilities as well as digital archiving of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The project also aims at creation of e-filing facility in the SC and HCs.

          The first phase is scheduled to be completed by the end of the current financial year, as a result of which there would be improvement in the capacity building of judges for delivery of speedy and quality justice.

          Phase two would also be completed in the next two years, following which it would be possible to provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) coverage of judicial processes from filing to execution level- and also of all administrative activities.

          The third and final phase would be of one year duration. It would lead to the creation of Information Gateways between courts and public agencies and departments.

          The ICT components which are to be introduced in the Indian Judiciary during this period would be the creation of computer rooms and judicial service centres in all the approximately 2500 court complexes ; 15,000 laptops will be provided to Judicial Officers; extensive ICT training will be given to Judicial Officers and court staff; digital signatures and wi-fi facilities will be introduced in Supreme Court and High Court; state of the art video conferencing facility will be provided at the Supreme Court, High Court and District Courts. Many other facilities such as extensive re-engineering of processes will become effective etc. etc.

          Needless to mention, our justicing process is not in a very happy state on account of mounting arrears and long delays. Indian judiciary comprises nearly 13,246 courts located in 2,909 court complexes located in 2,268 towns throughout the country. As on May 31, 2007, there were 2,45,94,942 cases pending in our District and Subordinate Courts throughout India. Though, efforts for computerization of some of our processes have been going on since 1990 but not much was done. I am glad that the Government has become out with this ambitious plan to blend information technology with the justicing process.

                   We may be lagging behind but I am confident that soon we would take the lead in the field. To mark the launching of the first phase of e-courts project, we in the High Court have received laptops for all the Judicial Officers and they would be made available to each one of you very shortly. I have today handed over laptops to our Judicial Officers . Let me tell you that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I, in the High Court, am committed to providing all the latest electronic gadgets and peripherals to all of our officers working in the subordinate judiciary. It goes without saying that a common litigant has first brush with our judicial system when he approaches the court of a Magistrate. Out of lakhs of cases filed in our subordinate courts, very few come up before us in the High Court. It is, therefore, necessary that an officer who is working at the grass-root level, is provided with all the infrastructure so that he may provide qualitative justice to the ultimate consumer of justice,  namely, the litigant.  I am of the view that these laptops would come up in handy for all of our officers to provide efficient and speedy justice to our litigants.

                             I wish to utilize this opportunity to inform you that our fudges of the computer committee in the High Court are making concerted efforts to utilize information technology for providing valuable information to the lawyers and litigants.  Just now, Mr. Justice Hemant Gupta informed you that we have installed some servers in the High Court. Our final judgments are now available on the internet immediately after they are signed by the Hon'ble judges.

          Our officers in the High Court are working to provide daily interim orders in all the cases on the net and very shortly they would be available to the litigants and lawyers. We have also a plan to provide digital boards outside the courts and to provide digitally signed copies of the judgments. I am also seriously considering digitization of old records. This will save us a lot of space. It will also help us to retrieve the information in respect of old cases at the click of mouse. For lawyers and litigants also, it would become easier to get hold of old records. The digitally signed orders and judgments would also reduce the scope of perjury and corruption.

          On this historic and momentous days, I wish all my Judicial Officers a very happy and prosperous career and thank all the distinguished guests and friends from the media for taking time off to share with us our happy moments.