The Allahabad High Court has partially modified the e-filing procedure for taking up urgent matters notified by its Registry last week.
As per a notification issued today, the Advocates will have an additional option of filing with their petitions, a scanned copy of a Notary Affidavit, in place of a scanned affidavit or an e-affidavit.
The High Court has also intimated that during the lock down period, the requirement of an affidavit/e-affidavit/ scanned Notary Affidavit will not be mandatory in the case of Bail/ Anticipatory Bail Applications.
These modifications are certainly in light of a letter written by the HCBA to Chief Justice Govind Mathur, suggesting that the requirement of swearing of affidavit at Allahabad itself will defeat the objective of e-filing and may hamper the social distancing protocol.
The Advocates will however have to submit the Adhar Card Number of the person wanting to act as deponent in the matter, full details of the card holder, along with a declaration affirming the correctness of the disclosures and averments made in the application/petition.
In case of civil matters, a prayer for dispensing with the requirement of filing an affidavit may be made along with the urgency application which will also be considered simultaneous with the issue of urgency.
This waiver is subject to a proper affidavit being filed in hard copy, within 15 days from the date the lock down is lifted.
The court has cautioned that in case a proper affidavit is not filed as specified above, the said case will be dismissed automatically and any order passed therein will stand recalled, without any reference to the Court.
In its letter, the HCBA had also urged the court to not pass any adverse orders against the lawyers in case they default in following the procedure, given that the changes in the procedure are "drastic" and lawyers need some time to "understand and adopt" the system.
Perhaps why the High Court has also suspended the operation of Para 17 of the e-filing procedure which stipulated that if an Advocate fails to appear through video-conferencing on the date and time slot fixed for him, the Court may proceed to decide the matter on merits, exparte.