Delhi High Court has directed the Central Government to submit a status report indicating the steps that are being taken by it for ensuring the proper functioning of the DRAT and DRTs during this present pandemic situation.
The Single Bench of Justice Navin Chawla has directed the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Information Technology & Electronics to submit status reports within one week.
The order has come in a plea seeking additional online links for Debt Recovery Tribunal and Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal in order to ensure smooth operation of hearings through Video Conferencing and other virtual operations.
Filed by Debt Recovery Tribunal Bar Association Delhi, the petition seeks a direction to be issued to the concerned Ministries to provide minimum three separate online links to each Presiding Officer of DRT, Delhi.
This would amount to a total of 12 online links: one each for Presiding Officer, one each for the Registrar of all the 3 DRTs, and one each for the 6 Recovery Officers at all the 3 DRTs.
In addition to this, the petition also demands two separate online links for Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal along with complete infrastructure to support virtual functioning, for instance, high speed scanners,etc.
It is argued by the Petitioner that it is the responsibility of the government to provide basic minimum infrastructure to the DRTs for the effective administration of justice, especially at the time of COVID19 pandemic.
It is submitted by the Petitioner that the National Informatics Centre, Government of India, has only provided a single online link to both the DRT and the DRAT. This basically translates into a single link for 7 DRTs which come under the jurisdiction of DRAT, Delhi, and 12 quasi judicial bodies under each of the 3 DRTs.
The petition states that:
'It is needless to say that this practice has failed to digitise the workflow of the DRTs and the DRAT, and instead these DRTs and DRAT are made to conduct their daily hearings in turns, one after the other.'
Due to a single link being provided to 14 quasi judicial bodies, the Petitioner argues, matters of urgent nature listed for hearing are not taken up on account of hearing being conducted by some other DRT or DRAT.
The court will next take up this matter on July 07.
The DRT Bar Association in this case is being represented by Mr. Sanjeev Bhandari, Mr. Dhanajay Kumar, Mr. Anand Aggarwal, Mr. Gaurav Dahiya & Mr. Sushant Bali, along with the President of the DRT Bar Association, Chandigarh, Mr IP Singh.
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