It’s World Nature Conservation Day on July 28 and it calls for some recognition of the efforts that one of the largest public service institutions in the country — the courts — are putting in to conserve paper.
In a decision taken last December, the Supreme Court announced that it would use only A4 size paper for all its administrative and judicial work. The pages will be printed on both sides to make the use of paper more sustainable. The line spacing and borders have also been reduced, giving more space to work on and facilitating judicial use. Earlier, the green ledger paper, which was used for the official work and internal communication, used to be printed only on one side and was bigger in size. It raised environmental concerns for a multitude of reasons.
Based on an estimation, almost 20,000 reams of green ledger paper, with broad margins, were used annually in the Supreme Court, and rightly so. Supreme Court witnesses a total of 40,000 cases being filed every year. The bottom line is that courts use an enormous amount of paper, and a plenitude of trees is uprooted to make them.
However, the courts have now changed the course entirely. The pandemic brought forth a world circumscribed in digital space. Consequently, courts also revamped their system. Judges and lawyers were encouraged to carry out their legal conversations over e-mail and other online mediums, using almost no paper for the same. But the Indian courts did not just stop here but went on to lead as an example.
The decision has been implemented since April 1 in a few Indian courts and is expected to save more than 2,800 trees and conserve around one crore liter of water annually. After SC, high courts in Calcutta, Karnataka, Kerala, Sikkim, Tripura, and Allahabad also adopted the green measures. Recently, the Delhi and Bombay high courts also adhered to the policies of conversation. Thus, the decision taken by the former Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde, can have a multi-fold effect and can save thousands of trees and gallons of water.