With a view to make justice more accessible to one and all, be it the old or the infirm, the Delhi High Court has launched a unique helpline number “1888”.
Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal launched the four-digit helpline number on Monday at the court complex.
As of now, the helpline provides for the litigants to make an advance booking for a wheelchair for the day they are visiting the high court but it will soon be open for various other assistance and information to the litigants.
“To begin with, the helpline facility is proposed to be used for providing wheelchair assistance to differently-abled litigants to traverse the passage into and through the high court building, for which they can make advance reservation by way of making a call or sending an SMS on the helpline,” said the high court.
A litigant can dial 1888 or simply send an SMS to make the reservation or even send an e-mail.
A call on 1888 will be answered by a designated officer who will note the requirement of the caller and make arrangements on the ground. Two standby officers have also been appointed in case the designated officer cannot be reached.
However, as of now only Airtel subscribers can call on 1888 from their mobilephones. While other telephone operators are also being coordinated, it will take some time and till then, they can call on high court exchange no. 43010101 from where their calls will be transferred to the designated officer.
The helpline number will also soon provide information about case status, legal aid, arbitration etc.
The move comes six months after Justice Mittal’s predecessor former Chief Justice G Rohini increased from one to four the number of wheelchairs available at the NDMC school building opposite gate no. 7 of the high court.
Justice Rohini had acted on a letter written to her by advocate and social activist Ashok Agarwal highlighting the hardships faced by disabled litigants and lawyers coming to the high court.
He had also shared how some infirm or medically unfit litigants visiting him had to be carried in arms to his chamber by their relatives. Some used to reach his chamber limping.
The helpline number is in keeping with the prestige of Delhi high court as a high court with a unique place in the justice administration system.
Prior to this, the high court had launched SMS service for lawyers and litigants for tracking case status thereby cutting down on the hassle of coming down all the way to the high court for tracking date of listing or the next date of hearing.
A quick SMS from any mobile phone user to 7738299899 is now enough to track an individual case.
The Delhi high court has already enabled e-filing of cases as part of its digitization process.