'Use Technology To Facilitate Virtual Hearings, Don't Waste Money Spent On Technical Upgradation' : Supreme Court To All Courts, Tribunals
While hearing contempt pleas pertaining to to lawyers who have indulged in vandalism in court premises during their strike demanding formation of new Benches of the Orissa High Court, the Supreme Court, on Monday, noted that it expects that the technological upgradations that have been made in the judicial institutions over the span of last couple of year should be utilised to its fullest.
A Bench comprising Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Manoj Misra was informed that the demand for new Benches of the Orissa High Court might have become obsolete in view of the fact that provisions have been made in 10 districts of the State, for lawyers to appear through virtual mode. Now, lawyers in these districts can even address the Odisha High Court. It was apprised that the virtual functioning would soon spread to the other districts of the State.
The Bench noted that the provision already made in the 10 districts is a salutary effort. In this context it made some pertinent observations -
“...on the larger prospectus, we would like to say that in the COVID times considerable money has been spent on upgrading the technical infrastructure to facilitate hearing through the virtual mode, whether it be for Odisha or for other States and Tribunals.”
Referring to the allocation of substantial funds for upgradation of technological infrastructure in the present Budget, the Bench noted -
“Apparently, in the current budget also, large allocation has been made for technical upgrades of the judicial institutions. We are at times informed that there are some problems in Tribunals and some High Courts of the technical infrastructure not being used or dismantled…We would like to make it clear that money spent on the upgradation cannot be put to a loss and we expect all judicial forums, tribunals, district courts and high courts to utilise the technical infrastructure that is available to the best limits possible which would facilitate lawyers from attending proceedings either physically or virtually depending on their convenience.”
Senior Advocate, Mr. Vikas Singh submitted that the virtual mechanism would be effective only when all the courts are able to function virtually. Otherwise, some courts will benefit, while others will lose out because of lack of technological infrastructure. He added, “Virtual has to be a larger debate…Today if this virtual option is given, this Court would be empty.”
Justice Kaul retorted,“You are mistaken. Everybody knows that a physical hearing is better.”
At the request of the Counsels appearing for the BCI and the other associations, the Bench asked the Orissa High Court to consider changing the current nomenclature used for description of access through virtual mode, i.e., Orissa High Court, Sambalpur, Virtual. The Bench was informed that the mention of Virtual in the nomenclature may give the impression that there are multiple High Courts in the State.
[Case Title: M/s. PLR Projects Pvt. Ltd. v. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited And Ors. Diary No. 33859/2022]
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 99
For Parties Mr. Arvind P. Datar, Sr. Adv. Mr. Sibo Sankar Mishra, AOR Mr. Umakant Mishra, Adv.Mr. Niranjan Sahu, Adv.Mr. Debabrata Dash, Adv.Ms. Apoorva Sharma, Adv. Mr. Kaushik Poddar, AOR Mr. Ashok K. Parija, Adv. Gen. Mr. Shibashish Misra, AOR Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra, Sr. Adv. Mr. Prabhakaran, Sr. Adv. Mr. Dhel, Sr. Adv. Mr. Apurba Sharma, Sr. Adv. Ms. Anjul Dwivedi, Adv. Mr. Ram Sankar, Adv. Mr. Ardhendumauli, Adv. Mr. Vikas Singh, Sr. Adv. Ms. Deepeika Kalia, Adv. Mr. Aditya Kaul, Adv. Ms. K. Enatoli Sema, AOR Ms. Limayinla Jamir, Adv. Mr. Amit Kumar Singh, Adv. Ms. Chubalemla Chang, Adv. Mr. Prang Newmai, Adv. Mr. Arjun Garg, AOR Mr. Shobhit Jain, Adv. Mr. Aakash Nandolia, Adv. Ms. Sagun Srivastava, Adv. Mr. Gopal Jha, AOR Mr. Shreyash Bhardwaj, Adv. Mr. Abhimanyu Tewari, AOR Ms. Eliza Barr, Adv. Mr. Indrajit Mohanty, Sr. Adv. Ms. Manjula Gupta, AOR Mr. Satyajit Mohanty, Adv. Mr. Rohit Krishna Mohanty, Adv. Mr. Abhishek Choudhury, Adv. Mr. R. K. Dash, Sr. Adv. Mr. Suchit Mohanty, Adv. Mrs. Vandana Kaushal Mohanty, Adv. Mr. Samarth Mohanty, Adv. Mr. Rahul Pratap, AOR Ms. Sonia Mathur, Sr. Adv. Mr. Kabir Shankar Bose, Adv. Mr. Tathagat Sharma, Adv. Mr. Abhijeet, Adv. Mr. Nikhil Jaiswal, Adv. Mr. Simranjeet Saluja, Adv. Mr. Divik Mathur, Adv. Ms. Ronika Tater, Adv. Mr. Prashant Rawat, Adv. Mr. Shivam Singhania, Adv. Mr. Nring Chamwibo Zeliang, Adv. Ms. Priya Mishra, Adv. Mr. Siddhartha Sinha, AOR Mr. Dhananjai Jain, AOR Mr. Vijay Hansaria, Sr. Adv. Ms. Kavya Jhawar, Adv. Ms. Shweta, Adv. Ms. Keshari, Adv. Mr. Ashok Kumar Panda, Sr. Adv. Mr. Tejaswi Kumar Pradhan, AOR Mr. Koushik Anand Guru, Adv. Mr. B. K. Purohit, Adv. Mr. Manoranjan Paikaray, Adv. Mr. Aniruddha Purushotham, Adv. Mr. Shashwat Panda, Adv. Mr. Shantanu Sagar, AOR Mr. Prabhat Ranjan Raj, Adv. Mr. Sidharth Sarthi, Adv. Mrs. Divya Mishra, Adv. Mr. Anil Kumar, Adv. Mr. Gunjesh Ranjan, Adv. Mr. Vikas Singh, Sr. Adv. Mr. Dipak Kumar Jena, AOR Ms. Ranjita Dhal, Adv. Mr. Sumit Saddi, Adv. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Verma, Adv. Mr. Jitendra Mohatatra, Adv. Mr. Manish Grewal, Adv. Mr. Sandeep Rawat, Adv. Ms. Nishita Banduni, Adv. Ms. Bhanupriya Gaur, Adv. Mr. Kedar Nath Tripathy, AOR Ms. Sneha Kalita, AOR Mr. Kunal Chatterji, AOR Ms. Maitrayee Banerjee, Adv. Mr. Rohit Bansal, Adv. Ms. Kshitij Singh, Adv. Ms. Preetika Dwivedi, AOR Mr. Abhishek Mohanty, Adv. Mr. V. N. Raghupathy, AOR Mr. Gautam Narayan, AOR Mr. Himanshu Shekhar, AOR Mr. Parth Shekhar, Adv. Mr. Shubham Singh, Adv.
Virtual Hearing- Supreme Court asks all courts, tribunals to facilitate virtual hearings too, by utilizing money spent on technical upgradation- in the COVID times, considerable monies have been spent on upgrading the technical infrastructure to facilitate hearing through the virtual mode- Apparently, in the current budget of the Government of India also large allocation has been made for technical upgradation of the judicial institutions. We at times are informed that there is some problems in Tribunals and some High Courts of the technical infrastructure being not used or dismantled. We would like to make it clear that monies spent on these upgradation cannot be put to a loss and we expect all Judicial Forums, Tribunals, District Courts and High Courts to utilize the technical infrastructure which is available to the best extent possible which would facilitate lawyers attending proceedings either physically or virtually depending on their convenience