We must digitalize all processes
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government will start the activities of virtual courts at the district level, due to the current coronavirus situation. This is a wise, necessary measure. In fact, digitalizing various aspects of our justice system should have happened sooner, but due to various complications in Bangladesh, it is easier said than done.
For one, in spite of widespread mobile phone usage throughout the country, we are still lagging behind when it comes to internet usage and digital literacy. This is particular true in the rural areas.
Furthermore, many legal professionals, especially the more senior lawyers themselves, though highly educated, are not proficient and comfortable with the use of technology. Therefore, in spite of efforts to make the system adapt, again and again it has slipped into the older, less efficient ways.
It is good to hear that all laws and cause lists of all cases will be accessible online, and that steps are being taken to publish Bangla translations of verdicts which were given in English.
We are faced, overall, with a bigger problem regarding our digital infrastructure though, which cannot be ignored. Recently, due to a glitch, we saw that many government websites were down. This shows that we have a long way to go to safeguarding our sites. Important websites crashing at crucial times does not bode well for us.
But we must digitalize all processes, there is simply no other option, pandemic or not. A better digital system, paired with greater computer and digital literacy across the nation, is the way forward.