While disposing of a plea seeking courts to hear all matters, the Delhi High Court observed that the procedure of hearing matters through video conferencing is new to both the court and the counsel and each day throws a new challenge but that is not to say that the High Court and the Subordinate Courts have not risen to the occasion.
These observations were made in a plea filed by Mr SB Tripathi challenging the order dated 29/05/20 of the Delhi High Court whereby judicial work of the High Court and the Subordinate Courts have been suspended till 14.06.2020.
The Petitioner also sought directions that electronic filing and hearing of routine matters be permitted through video conferencing, both in the High Court and the Subordinate Courts.
During the course of the hearing there appeared a technical glitch which ended up inevitably delaying the proceedings. While highlighting that glitch, the court commented that:
'It is ironical that on the one hand, the petitioner has shown such an anxiety that not just urgent matters, even routine matters ought to be taken up during the period of the lockdown and on the other hand, it has taken him two rounds of hearing to link up in this matter.'
The court further added that:
'Even on the second call, the petitioner could join the hearing after much struggle. Sometimes his camera was directed towards the ceiling fan and at other times,at the window behind him. Only after efforts were made by us and learned counsel for the respondents to guide him, did the petitioner finally manage to show up on the camera.'
While taking this scenario into consideration, the court told the Petitioner that when he has faced such a difficulty in appearing in the present matter, which has been listed before us on account of the urgency expressed by him, how does he propose to link up through video conferencing to address lengthy arguments in routine matters.
Mr Reetesh Singh, OSD (Examination) Delhi High Court, informed the court that during the lockdown period, 3,787 cases have been taken up for hearing by the High Court through video conferencing. Besides remand matters, the Subordinate Courts have taken up 23,339 matters through physical hearing and 14,482 matters through video conferencing. Thus, a total of 41,608 matters have been taken up by the Delhi High Court and the Subordinate Courts during the lockdown period, till 09.06.2020.
Mr Abhijat, Secretary of the Delhi High Court Bar Association also submitted that the issue relating to creation of adequate facilities for the District Courts to hear matters through video conferencing is already a subject matter of a pending writ petition.
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