Monday, January 22, 2007

A day without computers in Supreme Court
Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel was unaware of what was happening at the benches on Sunday. He was also unable to know of orders and verdicts judges passed on the day kantipur reports .
Not only was the CJ finding himself helpless, even the employees were confused. "Sir, we are unable to perform our task, is there any solution?" An employee asked Deepak Timalsena, technical director of the Supreme Court.
The until-recently traditional apex court of Nepal faced a unique problem today as employees could not switch on the computers. Thanks to power failure.
The court staff could not update Monday's causa list -- information on the cases to be heard on a particular day --, provide dates, register cases and update the status of cases scheduled to be heard on Sunday.
The court staff, so used to handling big registers until two months ago were strolling around and passing time basking in the sun. They had no clue as to what to do without computers.
Computerization, completed only two months ago, has already made the Supreme Court its slave.
These days, lawyers and people do not need to check daily causa list being by physically present at the court. The "daily roster" is now a click away, and can be accessed from anywhere where there is access to the Internet.
Besides, people and lawyers can know the status of their cases, and even know the exact location of their files in the shelves of the court from their homes.
One can feel the modernization of the apex court as soon as s/he enters the court premises. Status of a particular case at a bench can be seen in the four display boards hung at different locations of the court building.
Nepal Bar Association is also going to have one display board shortly while the Office of the Attorney General already has one.
Chief Justice Poudel acknowledges that technology has been a boon for him. Poudel said he no longer has to ask judges about orders and verdicts on particular cases. "I can read orders and verdicts on my computer, and know what is happening at the benches on this display board," he said pointing to a display board hung on the wall of his office room.
"Efforts are underway to set up a cable television so that stakeholders [of the judiciary] can know the status of their case on the television monitor," he added.
Similarly, soon the CJ will be assigning cases to judges for hearing on a particular day right from his residence at Baluwatar.
Despite such dependence on the computers, how come they have no power back up? "We do have big UPS for servers and every computer has back up for 20 minutes. There is also a generator. Unfortunately even the generator is not working today, so the mess," said Timalsena.

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