Observing that the Courts have to march in sync with the latest developments in technology, the Delhi High Court has said that the reluctance of the judges to conduct virtual proceedings is not in alignment with the technological advancements.
Adding that the system of conducting Court proceedings through video conferencing is being encouraged by the Apex Court as well as the High Court, Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma observed thus:
"It is thus expected of the judges in the District Courts also to ensure that such a system of conducting the proceedings through video conferencing is put to usage. Virtual proceedings provide an opportunity to modernise the system by making it more affordable and citizen friendly, enabling the aggrieved and/or litigants to access justice from remote parts of the country and the world."
"Courts must keep in mind that the gap between physical presence and virtual presence has been bridged."
The Court was dealing with a plea seeking directions to the Family Court, Rohini Courts to follow the orders of the Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court and directions issued by Principal Judge, Family Court (Headquarter) regarding hearing of Mutual Divorce cases to be taken up via video conferencing. The plea also sought directions to city Family Courts to follow the existing guidelines or issue appropriate guidelines, in relation to virtual system of hearings.
The petitioner and the respondent got married on 29th November, 2017 and were currently working and residing in Portugal and thus, the parties signed and attested their case file before the notary in Portugal. The parties also filed an application to conduct the Court hearing through video conferencing.
On 22nd April, 2022, when the case was taken up, the joint counsel of the parties was physically present in the Court and both the parties were logged in virtually. However, the Family Court did not record the statement of the parties and adjourned the matter for 3rd August, 2022 ordering that both the parties were residing and working for gain at Portugal and were not within the jurisdiction of the Court.
The High Court thus observed that the Family Court had fallen into an error by not recording the statement of the parties in the first motion merely because they were residing at Portugal.
"The Courts have to march in sync with the latest developments in technology," the Court said.
Accordingly, the Court directed the Family Court, to deal with the petition preferred by the parties in terms of the procedure laid down by the Principle Judge, Family Court (Headquarter) and other directions issued by High Court.
"This Court also expects that the learned Judge, Family Court, Rohini, North West, Delhi shall fix an early date as per the Calendar for recording the statements of the parties in first motion in Petition bearing HMA No. 744/22 under Section 13B(1) HMA," it added.
The plea was thus disposed of.
Case Title: SANJAY SINGH v. SUKHPAL KAUR
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 510