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Delhi HC Decides To Increase The Strength of Benches Hearing Urgent Matters, Designates Two Courtrooms For Those Unable To Use VC [Read Minutes]

Karan Tripathi
20 April 2020 6:24 AM GMT
Delhi HC Decides To Increase The Strength of Benches Hearing Urgent Matters, Designates Two Courtrooms For Those Unable To Use VC [Read Minutes]
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In light of the increasing access to justice in the time of pandemic, the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of the Delhi High Court has decided to increase the number of Benches for hearing the urgent matters.

As per order dated April 17, the number of Benches is increased from one Division Bench to two Division Benches and from two Single Benches to four Single Benches.

Headed by Chief Justice DN Patel, the Committee has also decided to designate two courtrooms in the complex (courts 20 and 23) to be used for video conferencing by those advocates/litigants whose matters have been permitted to be listed, being urgent in nature and who are not in a position to handle VC hearings from their respective homes/offices.

The order dated April 17 has been passed after considering a letter sent by the President of the Delhi High Court Bar Association, Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur. The letter had asked for the following demands:

  1. Increase the number of Benches which may hear the matter to double figures (i.e around 10-12 Benches), since most of our judges are familiar with the VC technology and are comfortable with the e-Courts working. That way a larger number of cases may be disposed of, and the access to Justice does not remain a dream for many. Moreover, it allows our fraternity to make a living, which they desperately need, as it is now an existential issue.
  2. Ease the mentioning criteria before all Courts in Delhi, officially, from "extremely urgent" to simply "urgent", and mentioning be allowed before Judicial Registrars/Officers who can better appreciate the concerns of lawyers/litigants with the case in hand and leave less to the whims and face values.
  3. Matters which have been pending in the past, may also be allowed to be listed, though they stand adjourned en-bloc. Bail(s) & Stay(s) need to be given due precedence in listing.
  4. Assign a room in Court complexes, to allow such lawyers to use, who are technologically challenged, and are incapable of handling VC hearings.

On the issue of the nature of matters being heard, the Committee clarified that the court is already hearing not just 'extremely urgent matters', but any matter which is claiming urgent relief.

Further, as informed by the Registrar, urgency in pending matters are also being scrutinised and the same are getting taken up for hearing.

Coming to the issue of scrutinising the urgency of the matter, the Committee stated that there's already a mechanism to prove the urgency of a matter of the same already been declined by the Registrar.

As per the information given by Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who heads the IT Committee of the court, if a matter is denied urgency by the Registrar, then upon receiving request, the same is taken up for reconsideration by Justice Hima Kohli. The urgency of a matter of thereby is decided by her court staff.

'In case any matter is declined for being listed by any of them, then the matter may be further put up, through the separate link already created, to the designated Hon'ble Judge for reconsideration, based on the same information as furnished by the counsel/ party', the IT Committee stated.

In light of this information, the Administrative Committee has asked the IT Committee to redevelop such a link. Once the said link is made operational, a Circular to the said effect be got uploaded by the Registrar General.

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