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Delhi District Courts Directed To Permit Hybrid/ VC Hearings At The Request Of Counsel Or Parties On All Working Days

Nupur Thapliyal
12 May 2022 5:38 AM GMT
Wherever Possible Hybrid Hearing Be Conducted In District Courts To ‘Avoid Crowding’
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The Delhi High Court has directed all the district courts to permit hybrid or virtual conferencing hearings on all working days at the request of the parties or their counsel.

The circular issued by the Registrar General of the High Court yesterday states that the Acting Chief Justice and Judges of the High Court have directed that the District Courts in the city, shall permit hybrid or vc hearing facility wherever a request to this effect is made by any of the parties or their counsel, provided such a request is made in writing or through email at least one day in advance on the previous working day before 2 PM.

According to the circular, it has been stated that such a request has should also include a certificate or declaration that an advance copy of such a request or application has been served upon all the other counsels or parties appearing in the matter.

"The Court may, however, fix a lume slot tor taking up all such matters where requests for hybrid/video-conferencing hearing have been made or may take them up in such manner as such Court deems fit and information in this respect be displayed on the cause list(s)/website," the circular adds.

Furthermore, it has also been stated that the Court may reject such a request where in it's opinion the physical presence of the parties or their counsel in the Court is required or where the Court is otherwise of the opinion that the matter should be heard physically in the Court.

"Furthermore, the Courts shall keep the video-conferencing link open/live (with audio disabled) on every working day from the start of the Court functioning Le. from 10.00 a.m. till the Court holds its sitting: and the audio may be enabled only during actual hybrid/video conferencing hearings," it has been added.

All the Principal District & Sessions Judges are further requested to furnish their views, comments or suggestions on the working of the aforesaid arrangement and the availability of adequate infrastructure for the same by May 27.

Earlier in March, all city District Courts were directed to keep open their videoconferencing link during the court sitting hours.

The directions were issued vide circular dated February 28, 2022 by Girish Kathpalia, Principal District and Sessions Judge (HQs) in order to ensure smooth and hassle-free functioning of the courts through virtual mode.

The development came after a division bench of Delhi High Court vide order dated January 20, 2022 said that it expected the judicial officers of the district and sessions courts to follow the order passed by it regarding holding of virtual and hybrid hearings in letter and spirit.

The Bench had also said that all such courts should keep their weblinks open on every working day from the start of the Court functioning i.e. 10 AM till such Court holds its sittings, so that any counsel or party wishing to join virtually is able to join the proceedings even without any prior intimation.

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