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The First Digital Revolution in Revenue Courts Administration in India

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V Srinivas, Chairman, Board of Revenue, Rajasthan

The Board of Revenue would seek to create a Rajasthan Revenue Courts Grid which would provide the litigants a wide array of Courts of Revenue Courts on a common platform, says V Srinivas, Chairman, Board of Revenue, Rajasthan, in an interaction with Gautam Debroy of Elets News Network (ENN).Excerpts: 

What is your vision as Chairman of Rajasthan’s Board of Revenue?

The Board of Revenue currently has 65,000 court cases highest case loads of Revenue Boards in the country. The Board of Revenue currently has 20 members and decides about 900 cases every month. My vision is to establish a fully Digital Rajasva Mandal that would represent a fully online institution, meeting the needs of 21st century land reforms — the First Digital Revolution in Revenue Courts Administration in India.

On September 27, the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan has undertaken a major step towards a fully Digital Rajasva Mandal. It has placed its first set of judgments on the website of the Board of Revenue providing for easier access of court decisions to millions of litigants approaching the Board of Revenue. In the coming days, the Board of Revenue for Rajasthan would be placing all judgments in public domain.

There are huge benefits of transparency in revenue administration. The Board of Revenue for Rajasthan would hand-hold all Revenue Courts including Courts of District Collectors, Additional Collectors, Sub-Divisional Officers, Tehsil Courts to place case lists and judgments on the Rajasthan Courts Management System (RCMS). All efforts would be made to cater to the needs of litigants to provide them information on real time basis. The Board of Revenue would seek to create a Rajasthan Revenue Coutrs Grid which would provide the litigants with a wide array of judgments of Revenue Courts on a common platform.

How are you planning to reform the Revenue Department and what are your thrust areas?

The Board of Revenue is implementing the Digital Land Records Management Program (DILRMP). The DILRMP seeks digitisation of land records in a single standardised format across various departments, overhauling litigation in land with reduced timelines with fast-tracked courts and judicial processes, streamlining property registration system and linking land records to stamp registration, providing easy access to government data and other land-related information.

The Digital Rajasva Mandal would include the following:

  • Classification and bunching of cases in cause lists;
  • Online follow-up of files in revision cases called from Subordinate Courts;
  • Online follow-up of the campaign on reference cases;
  • Online follow-up of campaign;
  • Online linking of Sub-Registrar offices with the Tehsils for recording of timely mutations in registered documents;
  • SMS messages to Advocates on the listing of cases in cause lists;
  • Digital panels for displaying the cases being heard in the court;
  • Online judgements

How do you perceive transformation in rural administration?

The Government of Rajasthan has accorded high priority to Strengthening Revenue Administration at field level. There has been a significant expansion in Revenue Administration with Sub-Divisional Officer Courts being opened in every Tehsil. The 2017-18 Budget of Rajasthan has allocated significant resources for modernisation and strengthening of SDO offices, construction of Tehsil offices and for procurement of vehicles. The Board of Revenue has been advising the Sub-Divisional Officers to conduct court work in a timely and consistent manner.

 What is your view on land reforms?

Land is the summum-bonum of rural India. The Board of Revenue is at the forefront of implementation of Land Reforms in Rajasthan. The major thrust areas of the Board of Revenue are timely justice and protection of rights of Khatedar tenants.

The thrust areas for timely justice are (a) a major campaign in reference cases where the Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court in Abdul Rehman Vs State has ordered that all nadi/ nallah/ guachar which have been transferred wrongly may be restored back to the State with effect from 15/8/1947 and (b) a major campaign for expeditious disposal in revision cases. The Board of Revenue has 7498 Reference cases, and summons notices have been served in nearly 6,000 cases in two months of campaign. These cases would be taken up for decisions and completed by March 2018. In the revision cases, the Board of Revenue is identifying cases where case files have been received for expeditious disposal and also the cases where case files have been called from sub-ordinate courts and yet to be received.

The Board of Revenue has also identified Sub-Divisional Officer Courts with high case loads where Members of the Board of Revenue would be conducting inspections to motivate young Sub Divisional Officers for taking up court work on priority and provide speedy justice.

Do you have any digital transformation steps in mind?

In the run-up to a Digital Rajasva Mandal, the Board of Revenue would be working closely with the Department of Information Technology, Government of Rajasthan and the National Informatics Centre, New Delhi.

The Board would also cooperate with the Directorate of Evaluation to conduct a transactions study to identify specific areas of which are time-consuming in disposal of court cases.

Further, the Board has sought cooperation from the State Archives and National Archives of India for the preservation of its permanent records.

It must be recognised that there has been a transformation in rural administration with the Jan Dhan- Aadhar-Bhim applications and direct benefits transfers. The Board of Revenue must keep pace with the changes. Transparency in Revenue Courts is a major step forward. We hope to establish a Digital Rajasva Mandal that would provide the roadmap for Revenue Courts of India for providing timely justice to millions of litigants waiting for justice in partition of holdings, declaration of rights, land allotments etc”.

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