Covid-19 has been able to get cases across courts all over India adjourned for the next few weeks. Rightly so, the court crowd is an easy target for the monstrous corona virus. To contain its spread, courts all over the World are diverting courthouse traffic to virtual courts using remote video technology.
In India, the Supreme Court is spearheading this change, with many High Courts following suit. It is arguable whether this technological breakthrough would have been introduced if not for Covid-19. The E-Committee at the Supreme Court of India has been spearheading digitisation of judiciary at all levels. It began with computerization of courts and by now it has made available data of more than seven crore pending and disposed cases electronically. E-filing of certain category of cases and digital libraries have been introduced. Not only that, the E-committee has been guiding and facilitating courts to create infrastructure for video conferencing / virtual courts to dispose routine remands and production of under-trial prisoners, record evidence and statements, dispose cases dealing with minor offences of traffic violations. The present move may be a result of drastic measures taken in drastic times, or it may have been in the pipeline with modalities worked out waiting for a formal implementation. Either way, setting-up of virtual courts can be a welcome catalyst which may not be rolled back even after the crisis is over. To list a few benefits, video conferencing of cases would mitigate the spread of the toxic Covid-19 in courts, reduce costs at various levels, ease the functionality of vacation bench as well as urgent matters on weekends and court holidays, and address infrastructural problems. Courts all over the World are turning to this disruptive technology to bring in a new order and contain the spurt of Covid-19 infection. Texas Courts have started hearing criminal cases through remote video technology so that the inmates do not leave jails.
SC held proceedings via video conferencing on Friday.Judges were in their chambers, and lawyers in their offices/residences. pic.twitter.com/UqF4nzFBod— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) March 27, 2020
SC held proceedings via video conferencing on Friday.Judges were in their chambers, and lawyers in their offices/residences. pic.twitter.com/UqF4nzFBod