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AIIMS case: Is pencil mightier than laptop?

india Updated: Nov 05, 2006 13:50 IST

THE CENTRAL government and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) believe a judge using a laptop — instead of paper and a pencil —might not be able to deliver justice. At least, that is what they say in an affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court.

The affidavit seeks the transfer of the case relating to AIIMS Director P. Venugopal’s dismissal, pending before Justice Anil Kumar, to another judge. One of the reasons cited is: “The judge records submissions and citations on his laptop instead of following the conventional system of using a paper and pencil”.

This method, according to their lawyer P.N. Lekhi, is “prone to error and may result in failure of justice”. The affidavit, moved by Health Secretary P.K. Hota on Wednesday, says the “conventional system” is the “only method for the proper dispensation of justice”.

Sugriva Dubey, one of the lawyers for Venugopal, said the remarks were “unfortunate and discouraging especially at a time when technology is moving forward”. “The Centre itself says it is taking steps to modernise the judiciary. To suggest that laptops are prone to error is meaningless. On the other hand, the use of laptops cuts delay in disposal of the case,” he said.

The Centre and AIIMS approached the court after getting two adverse orders from Justice Kumar. The affidavit accused the judge of “pre-judging the issue in favour of Venugopal”.Arun Jaitley, senior counsel for Venugopal, told the court the affidavit contained “highly objectionable” points. The bench agreed, saying “personal attack against a judge cannot be tolerated”. The Centre and AIIMS will now have to file a fresh affidavit.