In this post our SpicyIP intern, Gaurangi Kapoor writes on the recently launched e-SCR platform, highlighting its key features. Gaurangi completed her LLM in IP and Technology law from Jindal Global Law School in 2022. Her current areas of interest are copyright, design and artificial intelligence.
Access to any Supreme Court Case: Just a Few Clicks Away!
Our readers may recall a recent post on the takedown of the IPAB website and disappearance of the relevant information published on its website including orders, guidelines etc. (see here and here). However, in a welcoming and refreshing development towards accessibility, judgements from 1950 to 2021, delivered by the Supreme Court of India are now digitally available without any fee or cost.
The Supreme Court, launched the electronic-Supreme Court Reports Project (e-SCR Project), a publically available platform where any person can find a judgement from the Supreme Court amongst the corpus of about 34,000 judgements passed between1950 to 2021, as reported by livelaw. Accessing this platform is relatively easy and it functions similar to a regular search engine, albeit it requires a captcha before each search. The platform/website contains the soft copies of all the judgements passed by the Supreme Court of India and as reported in the Supreme Court Report uptil 1 January 2022 in a pdf format. On running a few test searches on the platform, it seems intuitive and easy to use. With a simple user interface, all the relevant information related to a judgement is made available to the user such as date of the decision, status of the case and case number.
It may be somewhat surprising to know that such a feat was accomplished in merely two weeks. The team responsible for the Project comprises the officials of the Judges’ Library and Editorial Section and NIC Pune which helped in the development of the search engine. Unlike other common platforms available for case law search, such as paid databases and websites of the respective Courts, the e-SCR platform is both free of cost and significantly user friendly. (The notable mention/exception here is, of course, IndianKanoon, which has been providing free access to case laws for several years now). The e-SCR’s elastic search facility allows a person to carry out searches with free text and phrases unlike the eCourt facility which often requires knowledge of case number and other technicalities. Additionally, it has an explicit screen reader access that will allow persons with visual impairments to access the copies of the judgments.
The eSCR project was introduced, “as a step towards the digitisation of the Indian Judiciary” and a free service facility for the lawyers to access SC judgements. At the risk of repeating the substance from my previous post, it is pertinent to mention here that tribunals are a key grievance redressal forum in the judicial delivery system. While relevant information published by most of the tribunals is still accessible, it is not the same case for those shut down by the Tribunals Reform Act 2021. Now let us hope that a similar framework also happens for the tribunals and they are not left behind from developments that take place in the Indian judicial system.