Judicial Portal Ready to Rock
The judiciary of Bangladesh is bound to change quite drastically given the extent of technological change and its possible applications. The predominantly analogue system that prevails within the judicial system will become increasingly digitised leading to a faster, more efficient and more effective judiciary.
Not unlike other transitioning developing countries, the judicial system in Bangladesh faces certain constraints and bottlenecks. The largely independent judicial system lacks performance measurement benchmarks and a nation-wide standardised case management process. With over 3 million cases, the backlog is mind-boggling. It takes an inordinately long time for each case to be resolved even as litigation costs keep mounting. Worse still, information related is not readily available adding to the inconvenience of the already distressed citizen seeking recourse. Sadly but surely, the vulnerable and marginalised sections of the society suffer.
The advent of e-governance and services through the Bangladesh national portal, guided by the idea of digital Bangladesh, has heightened focus on the need to develop user-friendly quality web portal services to the judiciary — one of the three organs of the state. The national portal has already shown that it can lead Bangladesh towards an integrated approach making e-government services more accessible. The judicial portal, in this context, has created a huge impact on the justice system in its attempt to connect it with citizens from remote pockets of Bangladesh.
Originally designed to enhance judicial efficiency and transparency, deliver better services in terms of the citizen’s choice, options and rights and overcome the huge backlogs, the judicial portal will provide easy and ready access for the disadvantaged, women and the disabled. The portal will provide citizens with options to choose their lawyer or find out their designated notary public.
This portal will become the mother of all portals as far as the judiciary is concerned turning into a repository of all the information. Consequently the portals of the Supreme Court, district courts and other judicial institutions and organisations will be connected to this one, saving time and money.
This portal will pave the way to make firm inroads into a better and enviable justice system in Bangladesh. Its efficacy has not limited easy and ready access for the citizen, but extends to unprecedented media access and public scrutiny of its processes with regards to court hearings.
As a first step towards transforming courts into more public-friendly and less intimidating, the portal also encourages all office bearers of the judicial system to adopt an attitude of providing excellent civic service.
While the judicial portal has immense potential, the extent of its use will only depend on human resources and the willingness of people to put it to use.
*The writer is a Joint District & Sessions Judge who is on attachment at the Access to Information (A2I) Programme at the Prime Ministers’ Office.