Friday, February 17, 2012

Importance &Role of Court Opinions

Importance &Role of Court Opinions

You may wonder what is the significance of title "Importance &Role of Courts Opinions",when all judgements of the courts are significant ,important and crucial for the lawyers ,judges and interested general public.There is lot of difference between ordinary judgment and land mark judgments,some times, land mark judgement will become law of the land[Visakha Case-Sexual harassment ],some judgments will become important citations /case law for future reference[D.K Basu case,Maneka Gandhi case or Bhim Singh case],which will be used by lawyers and courts.  

Sweeping Remarks or Merely expression of opinion:

While delivering the judgement, judges often makes sweeping remarks on certain point of law or legislative pitfalls [ shortcoming] or certain incisiveness criticism on important issue or general observations on the pressing problem of the nation,even suggest remedial measures to overcome lacuna or even suggest the government to make new law or amend the existing law to address the lacuna or pitfalls[example: Decriminalizing 377 or women should also be punished for adultery or misuse of 498-A  or legal terrorism ]. But trial courts or lower courts don't have privilege to make such sweeping remarks as they are court of facts.

There is lot of criticism on the judicial activism or  sweeping remarks of judges ,some say its judicial overreach as court are supposed to implement the law and should not to transgress on law making functions of the legislators or judges has no business to tell  legislators,how law should be or law ought to be.
Some say it is judicial activism,when other organs of government like executive or legislation fails to perform its obligation under Constitution,the courts has to intervene to perform it's  duty as watch dog of the constitution to protect the constitutional values and save the people from poor governance.

Types of Opinions: 

Lower courts or trial are fact based courts ,where as,the High Courts and Supreme Court have both original jurisprudence and appellate jurisprudence.

High Court : 

At high court level,the single or division bench hears appeals against the trial or lower court judgement.The panel of judges or bench[full bench or larger bench] will be constituted to hear any issue or point of law brought before it under original jurisdiction.
Supreme Court :
At Supreme Court ,panel of judges will hear appeals against high court [ trial courts ,all courts below Supreme Court are called trial courts in S.C ]orders or any issue brought before it under original jurisdiction.If any issue of constitutional importance or important legal issues is involved ,larger bench or full bench will be constituted to deliberate on the issue.

Some questions will asked by  young lawyers , budding lawyers or common man about meaning of certain terms ;

  • Majority opinion  
  • Concurring opinion
  • Dissenting opinion
  • Plurality opinion
  • Per-Incurium Opinion  
  • Majority Opinion :Where majority of judges agree on a specific point of law or affirming the judgement of lower court,lawyers often refer such cases  in court as precedent ,which carries lot of importance in deciding the out come of the pending case.
  • Concurring opinion : Concurring or agreeing  with fellow judges or majority of judges.
  • Dissenting Opinion : Disagreeing with fellow judges or judge,judge disagrees with colleague judge or judges with specific  reason for the differing [Js.P.N Bhagwathi dissenting opinion in Bachan Singh case] 
  • Plurality Opinion : Divergent opinions of judges. No consensus evolved in the case,because of lack of majority opinion. 

  •  Per-Incurium Opinion: The term indicate that the opinion was given by court ignoring existing law or judgment.This opinion does not carry much weight age.

The legislators makes statutory law, they are called law -makers ,if executive makes law,it is called administrative law [Viz .G.O] and Court /Judge gives judgement -it is called case law or we often call it judge -made law. 

The main aim of all organs of the government is to uphold constitution,no organ is greater or lesser than others,but all three organs are strong pillars of the government.The concept of checks &balances is very important in democracy and its survival.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Role of Internet in Legal Practice-Legal Research

Role of Internet in Legal Practice-Legal Research:

Whenever you happened to visit the lawyer's chamber,you will wonder,whether such huge library is indispensable for a lawyer in the present Information Technology &communication age.

it is up-heal task for lawyers to maintain huge library,it is not only taxing monetary wise,but also difficult to get spacious accommodation in central location,but Technology is changing every thing in the world and influencing our daily life

some people are already speculating that present generation of lawyers will no more maintain huge library with voluminous journals,due to advent of newer technologies like Information Technologies user friendly solutions like Internet and virtual library is available in the cyber world [world wide web.] with a finger touch at an affordable price and apart from that ,free websites are also offering their services. 

Internet in legal practice  :

We are in the world of E-commerce,E- Governance and E- Courts.The new technology will replace age old traditional practices&mechanism of government machinery and courts,all activity of government like maintenance of land records ,release of G.O's ,and property tax/value calculation have become online.

All state government offices ,apart from Secretariat/head offices ,even grass root level offices like  gram Panchayat level / Municipal offices to District Collector are maintaining websites to cater the needs of the common man. 

We often feel that government will become paper -less administration within in matter of time and for the matter of fact,even courts are also bound to follow the paper- less  administration policy to a certain extent.

Presently ordinary citizen can know case status information ,cause list[list of cases] and judgments of Supreme Court ,High courts,Service tribunals,city civil courts,state consumer commissions ,commissions[HRC/SRC] and other courts.

Some hypothetical questions ,hard to answer.
  • Whether e-justice  like e-filing of cases and e-filing of counter affidavits will replace conventional administration of the justice for speedy and effective delivery mechanism of justice, inter-linking prosecution,courts,police and jails will helps to improve the administration of justice through internet replace traditional system
  • Whether excessive use of e-mail/SMS for service of notice will reduces the usage of postal services/Telegram and personal hand delivery of summons?
  • Whether E-registration of documents &computerization of various governmental offices of public importance replace traditional files management  and sending scanned documents will replace hard copies to make way for paper -less administration,
  • Whether printed cause list will disappear to make paper- less administration of justice.
  • Whether production of accused before magistrate through web linked video conferencing will replace personal production of accused to reduce time and man power?
  • Whether you will see books in lawyer's chamber in future or not?
Role of NIC &e-courts :
It is fact that today ,all organizational  activities &publications have become online Viz. court's s cause list[list of cases to be taken up],online e-filing ,online journals ,and Advocate's  database and are with in -reach of general public with minimum cost. The National Informatics Centre[NIC ]- is responsible for maintaining the websites of all courts in India.-

The Indian judiciary comprises of nearly 15,000 courts situated in approximately 2,500 court complexes throughout the country.The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is a premiere Science&Technology institution of the Government of India, established in 1976,is providing e-governance support to central government ,state government , UT Administrations, Districts and other Government bodies. It offers a wide range of ICT services including Nationwide Communication Network (NICNET) for decentralised planning, improvement in Government services and wider transparency of national and local Governments.

The project scope is to develop, deliver, install and implement automated decision making and decision support system in 700 courts of Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata & Chennai; 900 courts in the 29 capital city courts of states and UTs and 13000 district and subordinate courts.

The objectives of the NIC project/E-courts are-
  • To help judicial administrations of the courts in streamlining their day-to-day activities

  • To assist judicial administration in reducing the pendency of cases

  • To provide transparency of information to the litigants 

  • To provide access to legal and judicial databases to the judges.     

Computer savvy Advocates-Social networking websites :

It is heartening to note that most Lawyers ,Judicial officers ,Judges have become computer-savvy and adopted new technology with ease.Most of them are effectively utilizing social networking utility services viz, Face book ,Linked in ,tweeter  for networking and exchange of information.It will bound have significant impact on professional advancement and enhancement of professional /advocacy skills.It has increased research skills of advocates ,most advocates are familiar with search engines like Google,Yahoo &encyclopedia like Wikipedia.They are also using online web services of SCC,AIR,Manupatra resources.    

It is hypothetical to answer, Whether we will not able to see lawyers chambers with huge volumes of AIR,SCC ,Crl L.J ,Supreme Today etc. But the Technology bound to change the lawyers approach to legal profession.Whatever may be the outcome of technological advancement,it will bound have positive impact on standards of legal profession. 

The internet technology[ICT] is changing the courts functioning and also changing the face of legal profession.The computer knowledge and internet are essential part of the legal profession ,moreover indispensable to survive in the legal profession.

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