In a survey conducted on the virtual court hearings, a majority of participating Supreme Court lawyers expressed the need to replace the Vidyo App with a more effective one, such as Cisco Webex.
The Advocates said that they were routinely either unable to log in or were automatically logged out during Court proceedings. Further, the Vidyo App did not offer an effective screen sharing feature due to which, they were precluded from showing certain documents or Judgments to the Bench, which could ordinarily have been handed across in Court.
Participants also felt that there ought to be a viewing room for Advocates or litigants who just wished to observe Court proceedings, without participating in them.
Thus, 159 of the 210 Advocates who had taken part in hearings through Video Conferencing before the Supreme Court, suggested that the Supreme Court should migrate to a different software application for conducting hearings through Video Conferencing.
The Survey was conducted by five Advocates on Record at the Supreme Court namely, Bhabna Das, D. Abhinav Rao, Harsh Parashar, Krishna Dev J. and RV Yogesh, with an aim to find ways and means to improve the digital systems in place at present.
A total of 227 Advocates participated in the survey, including 13 Senior Advocates, 133 Advocates-on-Record and 81 Advocates, including 8 Advocates representing their Law Firms.
Due to the technical issues with VIDYO App, 155 of 218 Advocates strongly felt that the Supreme Court should migrate to a different software application.
"Cisco Webex, which is being successfully used inter alia by the Delhi High Court and NCLAT was the most popular choice amongst Advocates," the report highlighted.
Another concern expressed by most participants was that only a single person was responsible for co-ordinating the entire link sharing exercise, which lead to him being overburdened and unavailable to address grievances.
"There is absolutely no clarity on who is to be contacted in case of any technical issue in connecting via the link shared," many Advocates stated.
They suggested that the Supreme Court should have separate designated officers for each Virtual Court, who would be constantly available over the phone to respond to any technical queries and assist with problems which arose during a virtual hearing.
79.3% out of 213 Advocates had availed the E-filing facility of Supreme Court. While most of them (98 out of 166) preferred E-filing to Physical Filing, a significant portion [41%] of Advocates had faced some problems with the E-filing mechanism.
8 Advocates stated that they had been unable to use it because of technical issues.
Participants also gave feedback that they found the defect curing system for E-filing to be "tedious", and that most clerks struggled with the same. They expressed concerns regarding filing of voluminous petitions, as the process of uploading the petition and the printing of the same by the Registry caused a lot of delay
As per the report,
"By and large, Advocates feel that the interface is not user friendly, unnecessarily requires filling in of too many details at the Advocates' end, and that the support from the Registry is inadequate. Advocates are also anxious about the Diary Numbers not being generated immediately on E-filing, unlike a physical filing."
MENTIONING & LISTING
41.8% of the participating Advocates were able to get their matters listed "only after filing a Mentioning Application indicating some urgency".
Further, where Mentioning Applications were rejected, no reasons were furnished for the same, leading to lack of clarity as to when the matter is likely to be listed.
"There has been a significant delay of 10 days or more in listing of the cases of a large proportion of participants i.e. 34%. On some occasions, this delay has been caused despite filing a Mentioning Application, which has remained pending for several days," the report indicated.
Read The Full Report Along With Suggestive Measures Here