The Delhi High Court has directed principal district and sessions judges here to chalk out a list of the nature of cases or records of district courts that need to be prioritised for digitalisation.
The high court clarified that before weeding out old records, it is not mandatory to digitalise each and every petty case.
“The Principal District and Sessions Judge (Headquarter) in consultation with all the other Principal District and Sessions Judges and Officers In-charge (OICs) record rooms shall determine the category of cases which require digitisation and ‘petty cases’ which do not require digitisation,” Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma said in an order which was passed on June 1 and signed on July 11.
The order came on an application filed by the registry of the court seeking certain clarifications in its January 2017 order.
In its January 2017 order, the high court had directed that “before the trial court record is destroyed under the Delhi High Court Rules, all information should be sought from the appellate court concerned as to whether or not the judgment rendered by the trial court has been appealed and if so, whether such all appeal is pending”.
It had said, “In all such cases where a response is received with regard to the pendency of the appeal, the trial court record should not be destroyed and should be preserved. Even in cases where no positive response is received by the appellate court with regard to the pendency of the appeal before the destruction of the trial court record, the same should be scanned and saved in digitised form.”
While arguing on the recent application, advocate Rajat Aneja, representing the high court’s administrative side, submitted that due to non-weeding out of records, they are piling up and causing a huge problem.
Aneja also urged the court to pass directions for smooth digitisation as well as maintaining the record.
The information technology committee of the high court sought clarifications in the 2017 order, including that in which category of cases civil or criminal the directions were applicable and whether the trial court record for which the statutory period of preservation is already over also needs to be mandatorily digitalised.
It also sought clarification on whether petty cases such as traffic challans also need to be digitised.
The high court, with the assistance of advocate Aneja and judicial officer Abhilash Malhotra, who is currently posted in the high court as the Central Project Coordinator (CPC), passed certain directions including that the earlier directions were limited to criminal matters but now, they are extended to civil matters as well.
“The record, except having historical importance, which has already completed the statutory period of preservation, may be weeded out as per extant rules,” it said.
Justice Sharma further said, “The principal district and sessions judge (HQ), in consultation with all the other principal district and sessions judges and the chairman (IT & Digitisation), Delhi District Courts, shall chalk out an inclusive list of the nature of cases or records which need to be prioritised for digitisation.”
The high court said in cases where any appeal or revision petition is filed in the high court and the trial court record (TCR) is required for efficient adjudication, such data of cases shall be made available by the high court registry to the district court.
It said these directions should be circulated to all district judges.