SC’s virtual hearings can now be accessed from any district court in Delhi
Until now, access to the Supreme Court’s virtual hearings was only available at the additional Supreme Court complex situated at Pragati Maidan near the apex court.Updated: Jun 13, 2020 23:54 IST
Virtual court hearings in the Supreme Court can now be accessed by lawyers and litigants from any district court in Delhi, according to a circular issued by the top court on Saturday.
Until now, this facility was only available at the additional Supreme Court complex situated at Pragati Maidan near the apex court.
There are seven district court complexes in the national capital at Rohini, Dwarka, Patiala House, Tis Hazari, Saket, Rouse Avenue and Karkardooma. A video conferencing facility has been established in each of the seven district courts for lawyers and litigants to attend the virtual court hearings at the Supreme Court, the circular said.
The move is aimed to benefit the lawyers, litigants or petitioners appearing in person who otherwise had to travel to the Supreme Court for want of video conferencing facilities in their homes or chambers. Anybody intending to avail of this facility has to send an intimation to firstname.lastname@example.org 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing. Any complaints with regard to connection or supply of meeting link can be addressed to the helpline number 1881.
The facility is the latest among a series of initiatives undertaken by the top court to improve the online court hearing experience. Earlier, the Court had even allowed e-filing of cases and opened chamber blocks for lawyers wishing to attend the virtual court hearings.
While lawyers’ bodies have demanded physical court hearings over the virtual proceedings, the Supreme Court is yet to take a call. Hearing of cases through the videoconferencing app called Vidyo has been operational since March this year, ever since the lockdown forced Court to shut. The Court will be breaking for vacation on June 19 and is expected to resume in the first week of July. The CJI along with his colleagues is expected to decide by June end on whether to continue with the present arrangement when the Court reopens or explore the option of physical court hearing.
Statistics maintained with the Supreme Court indicate that as on March 1, 2020, the total number of pending cases is 60,469. Several crucial matters pertaining to faith versus rights involving entry of women in Sabarimala, challenge to amendments in Citizenship Act, and petitions challenging scrapping of Article 370 and 35A giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, are awaiting consideration once the physical hearing in the apex court resumes.