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Plea To Declare VC Hearing As Fundamental Right- IA Moved In Supreme Court To Implead SC's E-Committee As Necessary Party

Sparsh Upadhyay
28 Nov 2021 3:39 PM GMT
Plea To Declare VC Hearing As Fundamental Right- IA Moved In Supreme Court To Implead SCs E-Committee As Necessary Party
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An Interim Application has been moved before the Supreme Court in the pending matter relating to access to Hybrid Courts and their declaration as a fundamental right for impleading the E-Committee, Supreme Court of India as a necessary party. The application states that the idea, concept, and vision of Hybrid Courts is the baby of the E-Committee of the Supreme Court of India, which had time...

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An Interim Application has been moved before the Supreme Court in the pending matter relating to access to Hybrid Courts and their declaration as a fundamental right for impleading the E-Committee, Supreme Court of India as a necessary party.

The application states that the idea, concept, and vision of Hybrid Courts is the baby of the E-Committee of the Supreme Court of India, which had time and again written to the High Courts of the country for internalizing the said mode of hearing providing both Virtual as well as Physical access for cases heard by the High Courts.

The application proceeds to mention that it is imperative to hear the views and know the stand of the national E-Committee to decide the various questions of law of Constitutional importance raised in the Writ Petition.

The Application further states that the primary objective of constituting the E-Committee at the national level is to ensure that the process of dispute resolution gets technologically equipped and online modes are adopted for effective, expeditious, and efficacious adjudication of the disputes pending before various Courts.

"The vision propounded by the E-Committee whilst stressing the need for Hybrid Courts to all the Chief Justices in the past was towards strengthening the Virtual Court framework in the country to make justice inclusive, distributive, and accessible for all the fragments of the Society," the IA adds.

The application has been filed by the All India Jurists Association seeking access to hybrid courts with virtual mode as a fundamental right available under the Constitution.

The Petition has been receiving a lukewarm response from the Supreme Court of India, from the Bench headed by Justice L. Nageshwar Rao remarking on the last date on the necessity of changing a practice that has been in vogue for the last 70 years.

The Supreme Court has been repeatedly questioning the necessity of virtual access to Courts when physical access is available and the situation has normalized after the pandemic.

It may be noted that another Petition has also been filed by the Forum of Society for Fast Justice, Former CIC Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, and top cop Julio Ribeiro. All these Petitions have been scheduled for hearing on the 6th of December 2021. Mr. Kapil Sibal, Mr. Siddharth Luthra, V. Giri, Senior Advocates are representing the Petitioners in the batch of Petitions.

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Recently, the Madhya Pradesh High Court came into the news when it made physical hearings compulsory for all the lawyers after investing more than Rs. 100 crores in making the Courts compatible with virtual hearings over the last 1 year.

An Interim Application seeking stay on the decision of the MP High Court making physical attendance mandatory for hearing shall also be heard on the said date, which is yet to even file their response in the matter on her behalf.

The application mentions how just 12 days prior to closing down Hybrid Courts, High Court had invested more than 10 crores to buy around 1700 licenses of web-based software Web-Cisco simply for having a robust Virtual Court infrastructure, and the same was inaugurated as well attracting a lot of media attention.

Petitioners have, therefore, prayed for a 'National Policy & Vision Document on Access to Hybrid Courts' so that individual High Courts do not follow their path of convenience and choice of doing away with Hybrid Courts altogether.

Gujarat, Uttarakhand High Courts have already previously done away with the Hybrid Modes of hearing, which are also being arrayed as respondents.

Gujarat High Court in its counter-affidavits has justified resort to Physical Hearing compulsorily stating that access through Virtual Mode cannot be claimed as a matter of right and the convenience of the Courts and judges is to be seen as a primary issue.

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