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'No Longer Any Difference Between Physical And Virtual Courts; Get Used To It' : Justice Khanwilkar

Radhika Roy
2 Nov 2020 11:49 AM GMT
No Longer Any Difference Between Physical And Virtual Courts; Get Used To It : Justice Khanwilkar
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"There is no longer any difference between physical and virtual hearings; get used to this", said Justice AM Khanwilkar while adjourning the appeal against the Bombay High Court's order upholding the conviction of gangster Arun Gawli in the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsednakar and the life imprisonment awarded to him by the Special MCOCA Court. The comment was rendered...

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"There is no longer any difference between physical and virtual hearings; get used to this", said Justice AM Khanwilkar while adjourning the appeal against the Bombay High Court's order upholding the conviction of gangster Arun Gawli in the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsednakar and the life imprisonment awarded to him by the Special MCOCA Court. 

The comment was rendered by the judge in answer to a request by Advocate Brij Kumar Mishra who sought for the matter to be taken up before a physical court due to the existence of multiple voluminous files.

Justice Khanwilkar responded to Mishra by stating that there was no longer any difference between the physical and virtual hearings, and it was time to get used to virtual hearings.
The Supreme Court had been functioning via video conferencing since the second week of March with the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.
Though the judges' committee of the Supreme Court took a decision last August to resume limited physical hearing in certain court rooms on an experimental basis, the move did not take off as very few advocates gave consent for physical appearance. The Court had listed 1000 cases for being heard in physical court from September 1. But only a handful of advocates consented to physical hearing.
Recently, the High Court of Karnataka had decided the Franklin Templeton batch case after hearing it completely via video conferencing. The High Court observed in the judgment that the case proved that even complicated matters without highly voluminous records could be heard and decided in virtual courts.
He was convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999 and sentenced to life.

A Division Bench of Justices BP Dharmadhikari and Swapna Joshi in a 253-page judgement dismissed appeals filed by all the accused, except four who were acquitted under the stringent MCOCA, but convicted for murder.

The 60-year-old Gawli, who is currently lodged at Taloja Central prison, was convicted for the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar in 2012 by a Special Court under the MCOC Act. Gawli was arrested in 2008 in relation to the case and has been in jail since then.


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