KC Mittal, Chairman of Bar Council of Delhi, has written to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to come up with a system of restricted functioning in order to mitigate public suffering in wake of the national lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter acknowledges the critical phase that the country is passing through as a result of which the courts have restricted their functioning by taking up only urgent matters through video-conferencing.
It goes on to highlight the difficulties that are being faced by a section of Advocates who are not computer savvy and therefore, are unable to approach the Courts.
Additionally, it mentions that, in the case of under trials, while the Delhi HC was kind enough to grant relief, there still exist many who are languishing in jails and are unable to approach the Court for bail. There are also cases wherein applications had been moved prior to lockdown, are pending consideration, but not being listed. Further, there are many applications wherein notices have been issued to the State, but have not been taken up, and consequently the person remains incarcerated. Similar situations are being replicated in other urgent matters.
In light of the same, the letter requests the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court to lay down broad parameters and adequate protective measures so that minimum work can be undertaken, by restricting and regulating the entry of Advocates.
"No doubt, sitting home idle is a compulsion, but more than that, is injustice to the litigants and somehow, our endeavour is to utilise our resources so that more cases are taken up without compromising with the goal to defeat the Corona Virus".
The letter concludes with a claim of full cooperation from the Bar Council of Delhi with reference to any safeguards and procedures that the Hon'ble Court may devise in order to allow for smooth and protective facilitation of providing justice. The BCD has also extended a hand for the building of any App or any other system, as may be suggested by the Court.
Read the Letter
Hon'ble the Chief Justice
High Court of Delhi
The country is passing through a very critical phase because of spread of Covid-19 and so many deaths have occurred in various developed countries, but due to total lockdown barring some states in India, the grave situation could be averted.
The courts also stopped its regular functioning and initially confined to take up extremely urgent matters through videoconferencing, which was later partialy relaxed to increase the number of benches and take up matters of urgent nature.
The experience of these days has not been very encouraging, since barring a section of Advocates, majority of Advocates in High Court and District Courts, those who are not computer savvy and could not avail the facility of videoconferencing, failed to approach the Hon'ble Courts. Many Advocates have apprised us that they are not able to approach the Hon'ble Courts even in genuine cases.
That this Hon'ble High Court in terms of the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, in cases of under trials, was kind enough to grant relief, but looking into the overall situation, it may be necessary to evolve a system, where more hearing can take place in matters to obviate public suffering. We know many are languishing in jails. They are not able to approach the Hon'ble Court for bail, and in many cases, where application were moved prior to lockdown, are pending consideration, but not being listed. There are many such applications where notices have been issued to State, but are not being taken up and consequently, the person remains incarcerated.
Similarly, in other matters, where urgent hearing is required, in cases of interim relief, matters are not being taken up.
In the given situation, if regular hearing is not possible, some broad parameters and adequate protecting measures may be introduced to hold few courts, by restricting and regulating the entry of Advocates through a protective mechanism in the courts so that minimum possible work can be undertaken. Since most of the advocates are not in a position to avail videoconferencing facility fully, it may also be considered to set up App or any mechanism to give effect to hearing in more matters.
No doubt, sitting home idle is a compulsion, but more than that, is injustice to the litigants and somehow, our endeavour is to utilise our resources so that more cases are taken up without compromising with the goal to defeat the Corona Virus.
Bar Council of Delhi will fully co-operate with the Hon'ble Court and abide by all the necessary safeguards and procedures as may be considered appropriate and would also help for building an App or any other system, as may be suggested by this Hon'ble Court.
Bar Council of Delhi