A division bench of Apex Court passed these guidelines, with respect to digitization of Court records in all High Courts as well as District Courts.
From Paras 39-42,
Jitendra Kumar Rode Vs Union of India on 24 Apr 2023
39. Before parting with the present leave petition another important issue must be dealt with, i.e. the digitization of records. Technology has, in the present time become increasingly enmeshed with the systems of dispute resolution and adjudication with the trends pointing leading to all the more interplay, both supplementary and complimentary between technology and law.
40. On 24.9.2021, the learned E-committee of the Supreme Court of India issued an SOP for digital preservation. Step by step implementation of the digitization process involves eighteen steps therein. Primarily, it requires all High Courts to establish Judicial Digital Repositories (JDR) as well as the
standardized system therefor; A digitisation cell at each of the High Courts is to be established to monitor the progress on day to day basis; It is the work of the cell to manage contracts with vendors for specialized services; an online data tracking system to keep track of the data transferred to the High Courts and to facilitate the receipts for each set of transferred records to the District Courts as well; District Courts to have backups
of all data transferred to the High Court on a monthly basis while maintaining an independent record thereof.
41. It cannot be doubted that had there been properly preserved records of the Trial Court, the issue in the present appeal as to whether the High Court could uphold a conviction having not perused the complete Trial Court record, would not have arisen. Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that, in accordance with the SOP issued, private entities providing specialized service have been contracted, and therefore considering the importance and essentiality of such record, a robust system of responsibility and accountability must be developed and fostered in order to ensure the proper protection and regular updation of all records facilitating the smooth functioning of the judicial process.
42. Therefore, this Court finds it fit to issue the following directions:
1. The Registrar General of the High Courts shall ensure that in all cases of criminal trial, as well as civil suits, the digitization of records must be duly undertaken with promptitude at all District Courts, preferably within the time prescribed for filing an appeal within the laws of procedure.
2. The concerned District Judge, once the system of digitization along with the system of authentication of the digitized records is in place in their judgeship, to ensure that the records so digitized are verified as expeditiously as possible.
3. A continually updated record of Register of Records digitized shall be maintained with periodic reports being sent to the concerned High Courts for suitable directions.
4. Interlocutory application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.