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Wherever Possible Hybrid Hearing Be Conducted In District Courts To 'Avoid Crowding': Delhi High Court Issues Office Order

Sparsh Upadhyay
20 March 2021 4:06 AM GMT
Wherever Possible Hybrid Hearing Be Conducted In District Courts To Avoid Crowding: Delhi High Court Issues Office Order
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The Administrative and General Supervision Committee of the Delhi High Court on Friday (19th March) issued an Office Order directing that wherever possible, hybrid mode of case hearings be also conducted in the District Court. Significantly, this direction has been issued after the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of the Delhi High Court today resolved to...

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The Administrative and General Supervision Committee of the Delhi High Court on Friday (19th March) issued an Office Order directing that wherever possible, hybrid mode of case hearings be also conducted in the District Court.

Significantly, this direction has been issued after the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of the Delhi High Court today resolved to permit hybrid hearings in cases where a request to that effect is made by the counsel of parties.

As per the Office Order, the decision has been taken by the Committee to avoid crowding in District Courts.

Also, considering the fact that the infrastructure for facilitating hybrid hearing in completely in place in the district Court, the following steps have been directed to be taken: -

  • The Physical presence of the Parties may not be insisted upon by the Judicial Officers unless it is unavoidable.
  • The Advocates/Parties/Witnesses, seeking adjournment, particularly on account of health conditions, old age, for taking care of other family members etc by suitably accommodated
  • All the Principal District and Sessions Judge and Principal Judges, Family Courts shall take appropriate measures to (a) regulate the entry of the litigants and other stakeholders in the Court complex, (b) create, if not already in place, sufficient place for setting for them, (c) ensure regular deep cleaning and Sanitization of the respective Court complexes and Lawyers chambers blocks and (d) ensure strict adherence by all concerned with the norms of social distancing and all other COVID-19 protocols, guidelines, directions, etc issued by the Government of India, Government of NCT of Delhi and Delhi HC from time to time.

Further, the Office Order requests the President and Secretaries of the respective District Courts, Bar Association(s) to extend full cooperation to the District Court administration and shall also issue suitable directions in order to ensure that there is no crowding in the Lawyers' chambers as well.

The Advocates have also been asked to advise their client no to visit the Court unless their physical presence has been directed by the Court.

Significantly, an intervention application has been filed in the Delhi High Court in the PIL on restoring physical mode as per the order dated 9th March 2021, in order to support a hybrid system of hearings in all courts, tribunals, and other adjudicating authorities keeping in view health of the general public, traffic congestion, difficult parking, and air environment of the national capital.

It may be noted that the Delhi High Court vide it's order dated 9th March 2021 directed that all Delhi courts will begin physical functioning in full swing from March 15 and that hybrid hearing mode though available will only be allowed only in exceptional cases.

Reiterating that the hybrid hearing mode will only be an exception and not the norm, the Delhi High Court on (12th March) issued some crucial direction.

As far as District Courts are concerned, the High Court had observed that since the infrastructure for a hybrid form of hearing isn't in place, a similar arrangement cannot be directed for the District Court for the time being.

Click Here To Download Office Order

Read Office Order


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