Where the respective pleadings and submissions of the parties were to be considered, the Madras High Court on Wednesday remarked that "such final hearing cannot be done by way of Video-Conferencing mode".
The Single Bench was considering a string of writ petitions challenging both a Government Order and the consequential works in the tender notification of the Highways and Minor Ports Department of the state of Tamil Nadu.
Noting that the counter affidavit and the rejoinder are filed and, therefore, this matter needs to be heard finally, the Court was of the view that "To consider the respective pleadings and submissions of the respective parties, this Court is of the view that such final hearing cannot be done by way of Video-Conferencing mode".
"This Court is of the view that the matter needs to be heard in open Court", said the Single Judge, adjourning the matter.
Noting that the last date for submitting the tender is fixed on Friday and opening of technical bid is scheduled for Monday and, therefore, unless some interim protection is given, third party interest would be created which would complicate the hearing of the matter further, the Single Judge ordered that while the respondents are free to open the technical bid, they shall not proceed any further with the process of the tender until further orders from this Court.
On Tuesday, the BCI has addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of India, urging that physical, face-to-face hearings resume from June 1. ""We cannot even imagine of trial court work being done in/through virtual courts proceedings. Can we think of recording of evidence in virtual courts? Exhibiting documents, confronting witnesses with documents, watching the demeanour of witnesses and, above all, ensuring that the witness is deposing without any pressure, coercion or undue influence, are some salient features of traditional court which would be impossible to achieve in virtual courts", it was stressed.
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