The National Informatics Centre (NIC) recently submitted a confidential report to the Bombay high court saying that the use of the HC's website to communicate high court orders to lowers court would be a safe way to speed up the communication process.
The issue was raised in a petition filed by Unique Juris Forum, an NGO run by advocates. Their advocate, Anjali Waghmare, had contended that if the accused are acquitted or released on bail, the time taken to communicate the acquittal by the court to jail authorities resulted in illegal detention.
The registrar (Legal and Research) had then suggested replacing the current practice of using snail mail for communication of acquittal and bail orders with a web-based service, linking all district courts, would solve the issue of illegal detentions.
However, the court had first sought the opinion of the NIC on how safe it was to use the Internet for such communication, in the light of worldwide concerns regarding web security and hacking.
The report suggested to the court that while a web-based portal would be safe as a temporary measure, using emails for communication would be vulnerable to fraud.
The report suggested two methods - delivery through web portals and emails, and highlighted security issues and procedures to ensure that no fraudulent orders are accessed for action.
In conclusion, the report states: "At a future date, when digital signature usage becomes prevalent, emails sent from the high court can be digitally signed and verified by recipients for authenticity.