The Karnataka High Court has urged the Members of the Bar to take recourse to video conferencing hearing even in complicated matters involving bulky records.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi observed in the judgment in the Franklin Templeton case :
"We hope and trust that during the period of pandemic, the learned members of the Bar will take recourse to the video conferencing hearing even in complicated matters involving bulky record without having any apprehension".
The bench noted that the records in the Franklin Templeton case were over 5000 pages.
The Supreme Court had on June 19, by an order transferred all the petitions filed in different high courts challenging the winding up of debt schemes of Franklin Templeton to the Karnataka High Court, for fresh hearing and disposal. The high court began hearing the batch of petitions from 12th August, 2020 in the afternoon session through video conferencing. The hearing concluded on 24th September 2020. Even on Court holidays, the bench held special sitting to hear the matter (August 29 & September 19). The hearing through video conferencing was conducted on 25 working days for a total 61 hours.
"We must note here that perhaps, this must be the one of the longest hearings conducted through video conferencing. What is more important is that hearing went on very smoothly without any major glitch. It enabled the learned members of the Bar to appear from London, New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Only once an issue of connectivity of the internet was faced for a brief period of ten minutes just before the submissions of learned Solicitor General of India were heard. During the course of hearing, decisions of various Courts and a number of documents were forwarded by email which were considered by this Court.", the Court said.
It added "All the parties will not agree about the correctness of the conclusions drawn on merits. But we are sure that all the parties will agree that notwithstanding the voluminous record, long length of arguments and involvement of complicated legal and factual issues, hearings can be effectively conducted by use of video conferencing facilities."
The court expressed appreciation to the service rendered by the Registrar (Judicial) Shri. K.S. Bharath Kumar and his team as well as Shri. B.M.Satheesha, Shri.C. Shashikanth and Mrs. T. Bhagya, Court Officers for efficiently handling large number of documents forwarded by the counsels through e-mail during the course of hearing and N.Suresh, Hardware Engineer and the team of the Computer Committee.
The court concluded by saying "Hearing of cases over such a long period of time by Video conferencing requires active cooperation of the members of the Bar. We were fortunate to get full cooperation from all of them."
Karnataka High Court Restrains Franklin Templeton From Proceeding With Winding Up Of Schemes Without Obtaining Consent Of Investors