The Orissa High Court on Monday (02nd November) notified the Orissa High Court Video Conferencing for Courts Rules, 2020.
In the notification, it has been said that the rules are intended to "consolidate, unify and streamline the procedure relating to the use of video conferencing for courts."
The Rules state that Video conferencing facilities may be used at all stages of judicial proceedings. The Rules also make it clear that "all proceedings conducted by a court by way of VC shall be Judicial Proceedings and all the Courtesies and protocols applicable to a physical Court shall apply to a Virtual Court".
It also states that "All relevant statutory provisions applicable to judicial proceedings including provisions of the CPC, CrPC, Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (Evidence Act), and Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act), shall apply to proceedings conducted by video conferencing".
Further, the courts may adopt such technological advances as may become available from time to time. Importantly, the rules state that,
"There shall be no unauthorised audio or video recording of the proceedings by any person or entity"
"Any party to the proceedings or witness, except where proceedings are initiated at the instance of the Court, may move a request for Video Conferencing", state the Rules.
In Criminal cases, the expenses of the video conferencing facility including in preparing soft copies or certified copies of the Court record and transmitting the same shall be borne by such party as directed by the Court.
In Civil cases, generally, the party requesting for recording evidence through video conferencing shall bear the expenses. The court may also make an order as to expenses as it considers appropriate. Also, the court can waive off the costs as warranted in a given situation.
"All the participants shall wear sober attire with the dignity of the proceedings. Advocates shall be appropriately dressed in procession attire prescribed under the Advocates Act", reads the Schedule to the Rules.
The Schedule to the Rules also says that all participants shall endeavour to look into the camera, remain attentive and shall not engage in any other activities during the course of the Investigation.