After introducing e-filing, the Supreme Court (SC) is ready to add another feature to its techno-savvy profile. Once the courts re-open after vacations, the judgments and orders uplinked on the Supreme Court website would bear digital signatures, enabling litigants and lawyers to use a downloaded judgment as citations while arguing their case.
Presently, a subordinate court mandates a certified copy of the Supreme Court judgment if it is part of citations supporting a case. A certified copy of a judgment bears the stamp of the Supreme Court and is a proof that the order is original. Procurement of a certified copy takes time as it is a lengthy process and involves a lot of paper work.
According to SC secretary general, VK Jain, digital signatures would be a stamp to prove that a judgment or an order downloaded from the website is authentic. Jain says: “At present, there is a possibility of tampering with these orders and judgments. After downloading them, one can make insertions and deletions to suit his case. And, there is no mechanism to cross-check whether the judgment or order is in original form or tampered.”
The digital signature would ensure the judgment that is downloaded is similar to one that is pronounced and later uplinked on the website. Jain says once the digital signatures are introduced, the judgments from the website would substitute a certified copy.
“If the judgment downloaded from the website is given to a lower court, the latter’s officer can verify it. A public key number would be displayed on the judgment’s print-out. If this key number is entered on the website, the system would verify if the judgment is original,” adds Jain.