In another step towards digitalisation of the judiciary, the Supreme Court will launch on Monday a project providing free access to official law reports of its verdicts to law students, lawyers and the general public.

The Electronic Supreme Court Reports (e-SCR) project will be unveiled on the direction of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud as an initiative to provide the digital version of the apex court's judgments in the manner as they are reported in the official law report – 'Supreme Court Reports'.

A team comprising officials of Judges' Library and Editorial Section within 15 days, almost 34,013 judgments were split to create a database suitable for meeting the requirements of the search engine developed by the Supreme Court with the NIC, Pune.

“Digitization and scanning of Supreme Court Reports (SCR) from the year 1950 to 2017 and preserving the same in digitized soft copy in the format of PDF (Portable Document Format), assisted the Registry in creating a digital repository in the Supreme Court's reported judgments in soft form," the top court said in a statement.

The e-SCR project will be rolled out on the Supreme Court's website and made available on its mobile applicatioas also on the Judgment portal of the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG).

On Monday, the Supreme Court will reopen after its winter break.

The top court said, “This is a project which, in essence, endeavours to take a step forward towards fulfilling the objective of digitization of Indian Judiciary and underlines the vision to bring in a positive change for the benefit of all the stakeholders of justice, primarily litigants and members of the Bar as also the High Courts, National Law University, Judicial Academies, etc."

The top court said that as the judiciary is aligning more with technology, the e- SCR project is an important stepping stone for future of the modern Indian judiciary and entails manifold benefits, including those of reduction in burden of travelling and browsing through huge volumes of journals in libraries, as also for enhancing its accessibility to those with visual disabilities, as they may now be able to access them through their screen reading software.

It added that the e-SCR project will showcase replica soft copies of SCRs by utilizing the verifiable authentic soft copies and would create an invaluable resource as the entire gamut of judgments from the inception of the Supreme Court in the year 1950 till date would be available on e-SCR and digital repository.

The top court, however, added that the challenges before the registry included segregation/splitting of reported judgments where the reported judgments, compiled in the form of SCR, pertaining to the years 1950 to 2017, were compiled in the form of a book wherein the judgments were not segregated to form an individual judgment.

“A team comprising officials of Judges' Library and Editorial Section worked tirelessly and within a short span of 15 days, almost 34,013 judgments were split to create a database suitable for meeting the requirements of the proposed search engine with the facility of elastic search," it said.

The top court added that this was followed by extraction and verification of meta data so that various kinds of search techniques may be deployed through the search engine.

“The meta data extracted by the machine learning tool, developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) Pune, in respect of all the 34,013 reported judgments has been duly verified within a short span of 15 days," it said.

The Supreme Court has developed a search engine with the help of NIC comprising elastic search technique in the database of e-SCR and the search facility in e-SCR provides for free text search, search within search, case type and case year search, Judge search, year and volume search, bench strength search options.