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Delhi High Court Notifies VC Rules, Allows Public To View Virtual Proceedings

Nupur Thapliyal
27 Oct 2021 5:22 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Notifies VC Rules, Allows Public To View Virtual Proceedings
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The High Court of Delhi Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts 2021, which seek to consolidate, unify and streamline the procedure relating to use of video conferencing for Courts, have been notified in the official gazette on October 26.The Rules consist of five Chapters and two schedules. While the Chapters provide for definitions, general principles and procedure for virtual...

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The High Court of Delhi Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts 2021, which seek to consolidate, unify and streamline the procedure relating to use of video conferencing for Courts, have been notified in the official gazette on October 26.

The Rules consist of five Chapters and two schedules. While the Chapters provide for definitions, general principles and procedure for virtual conferencing, the schedules set out the code of conduct and the request form for video conference. 

According to the Rules, any party to the proceeding or witness may move a request for video conferencing by making a request via request form. 

"On receipt of such a request and upon hearing all concerned persons, the Court will pass an appropriate order after ascertaining that the application is not filed to impede a fair trial or to delay the proceedings," the Rules add. 

The Rules also states that before commencement of video conferencing all participants shall have their presence recorded. 

"In order to ensure that video conferencing is conducted seamlessly, the difficulties, if any, experienced in connectivity must be brought to the notice of the Court at the earliest on the official email address and mobile number of the Court Point Coordinator which has been furnished to the participant before the commencement of the virtual hearing," the Rule states.

Further, hinting towards what could be a beginning of live streaming, Rule 16 provides for allowing persons, who are not parties to the case, to view the proceedings.

The said Rule states that in order to observe the requirement of an open Court proceeding, members of the public will be allowed to view Court hearings conducted through video conferencing, except proceedings ordered for reasons recorded in writing to be conducted in-camera. 

"To observe the requirement of an open Court proceeding, members of the public will be allowed to view Court hearings conducted through video conferencing, except proceedings ordered for reasons recorded in writing to be conducted in-camera. The Court shall endeavour to make available sufficient links (consistentwith available bandwidth) for accessing the proceedings", the said Rule says.

"The Court shall endeavour to make available sufficient links (consistent with available bandwidth) for accessing the proceedings. No complaint shall subsequently be entertained," the Rule adds.

Rule 10 which provides for the process to ensure seamless video conferencing, states that the Advocate or Required Person, shall address the Court by video conferencing from a specified Remote Point on the date and time specified in the order issued by the Court. 

"The presence of the coordinator will not be necessary at the Remote point where arguments are to be addressed by an advocate or party in person before the Court," the Rule says.

With regards to the code of conduct to be followed in such hearings, Schedule 1 states that all the participants shall wear sober attire consistent with the dignity of the proceedings. 

Advocates are required to be appropriately dressed in professional attire prescribed under the Advocates Act, 1961 whereas Police officials are directed to appear in the uniform prescribed for police officials under the relevant statute or orders. 

"The attire for judicial officers and court staff will be as specified in the relevant rules prescribed in that behalf by the High Court. The decision of the Presiding Judge or officer as to the dress code will be final," it adds. 

Furthermore, it reads:

"Every participant shall adhere to the courtesies and protocol that are followed in a physical Court. Judges will be addressed as "Madam/Sir" or "Your Honour". Officers will be addressed by their designation such as "Bench Officer/Court Master". Advocates will be addressed as "Learned Counsel/Senior Counsel".

Click Here To Read Rules

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