Technology plays a very important role in all human activities. As technology is used to commit more sophisticated crimes, law enforcement officials and those in the legal system are increasingly using technology to fight and control crimes. To keep the public safe it’s important that the criminal justice industry is up to date with the advancement of technology and it must make use of the several advancements of technology in offices, laboratories, and courtrooms. The use of technology has enabled today’s forensic investigators, police, judges, and lawyers to acquire more evidence and to help punish criminals. Police investigation and computer forensic investigation are two important weapons to deal with these crimes in the current era.
Need for the application of technology in the judicial process
The use of technology holds immense potential in the criminal justice system. Each type of advancements must be carefully analyzed before introducing it to the legal world. Currently there are several problems faced by courts and the judiciary due to arrears and backlogs. This can be resolved with the introduction of technology and computers. All High Courts in India have been computerized and interconnected through NIC’s (National informatics center) computer-communication network called NICNET. NICNET project interconnects the Supreme Court and all High Courts and is in the process of computerization and integration of all District Courts in India.
Evidence – In the history of criminal justice the most significant impact of technology with regard to the judicial process has been in the domain of investigation. To gather evidence in a crime, investigators have increasingly come to rely on forensic techniques such as analysis of fingerprints, voice, handwriting, blood samples, DNA and other bodily substances. In the current era software is also used for reconstructing the images of suspects and to aid in research. It is easier to identify suspects by storing DNA and fingerprints in database systems. Data is also helpful for recognizing trends and patterns of crime and to initiate appropriate action.
Rapid Identification- Law enforcement officers can use these technologies to quickly identify the criminal background of an individual by conducting a basic search. This would help to increase the speed of investigations.
There have been tremendous improvements in the information technology sectors in India. The developments in Indian software systems have been recognized globally. It is time to put these advancements to use in legal systems. Mission mode project (MMP) has been proposed under the National E-Governance plan for the computerization of courts. It has been proposed to implement information and communication over a period of five years in three different phases. The main goal of this project is to help the judicial administration of courts and to assist them in reducing the pendency in cases, to provide information to litigants and to provide access to legal and judicial databases to judges.
Tele-justice involves the use of IT services in the field of judicial administration. It could include telephone call, using satellite technology to communicate between people in two countries, using video-conferencing technology. Several Indian states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Bihar have already introduced tele-justice. The accused can be present in a court through a video conferencing, established on ISDN lines, between the prison and the court.
Our country has come a long way since the first initiative for the computerization of courts which took place back in 1990. It has become easier for judges, lawyers as well as litigants to participate in the judicial system. It has reduced the delay in the various aspects of the judicial process and brought down the amount of backlog of cases. Access to justice is also well served by technology as it allows more dialogue between the citizens and public institutions. However, there are plenty of hurdles that must be overcome so that the judiciary can function to its true potential using the implementation of information and communication technology. Large commitments and major initiatives are to be made to create a significant change. Once our judicial system becomes successful in implementing the use of modern technology, justice can be properly served to all in a quick and efficient manner.
Smrithi Jayakumar, Application of technology in the administration of justice, Ex Gratia Law Journal, (March 26, 2021), https://exgratialawjournal.in/blawg/technology-and-law/application-of-technology-in-the-administration-of-justice-by-smrithi-jayamukar/.