Madras High Court Video Conferencing in Courts Rules, 2020 have been notified to regulate the conduct of proceedings by courts and tribunals through video conferencing.
The Rules provides that a Court may, Suo Motu, or on the application of a party or witness decide to conduct the Judicial Proceedings by Video-conference when there are the Justifiable Circumstances.
Justifiable Circumstances are defined as circumstances under which it is not practicable, in the opinion of the Court concerned, to conduct court proceedings as per standard practice. To illustrate, circumstances like pandemics, natural , calamities, local unrest, law and order issues, matters relating to health or safety. Any other circumstance whatsoever on account of which Court Users or Remote Users cannot be physically present in Court, can be called a Justifiable circumstance.
The recording of judicial confessions of the accused and the recording of settlements and pronouncement of Awards in Lok Adalats or Jail Adalats shall not be conducted by video conferencing.
Rule 6 provides that the Court may, at its discretion, authorize police custody or extension of remand of an accused by Video -Conferencing. It also can, in exceptional circumstances, for reasons to be recorded in writing, examine a witness or an accused under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C (except judicial confessions) through Video-Conferencing, while observing all due precautions to ensure that the witness or the accused, as the case may be, is not under any form of coercion, threat or undue influence. The Court shall ensure compliance with Section 26 of the Evidence Act, 1872, the Rules read.
Rule 9 provides that, except proceedings ordered, for reasons recorded in writing, to be conducted in-camera, the Court shall endeavour to provide public viewing.
The Rules contains practice directions also.
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