The Chairman of Bar Council of Delhi Mr. K. C. Mittal has written a letter to Chief Justice of Delhi High Court requesting him for listing of more cases amid lockdown due to outbreak of pandemic COVID-19 and establishment of user friendly apps or other system for the lawyers as well as for litigants.
The letter of the Bar Council of Delhi reads as “The country is passing through a very critical phase because of spread of Covid-19 and so many deaths have occurred in various developed countries, but due to total lockdown barring some states in India, the grave situation could be averted.The courts also stopped its regular functioning and initially confined to take up extremely urgent matters through videoconferencing, which was later partialy relaxed to increase the number of benches and take up matters of urgent nature.
The experience of these days has not been very encouraging, since barring a section of Advocates, majority of Advocates in High Court and District Courts, those who are not computer savvy and could not avail the facility of videoconferencing, failed to approach the Hon’ble Courts. Many Advocates have apprised us that they are not able to approach the Hon’ble Courts even in genuine cases.
That this Hon’ble High Court in terms of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in cases of under trials, was kind enough to grant relief, but looking into the overall situation, it may be necessary to evolve a system, where more hearing can take place in matters to obviate public suffering. We know many are languishing in jails. They are not able to approach the Hon’ble Court for bail, and in many cases, where application were moved prior to lockdown, are pending consideration, but not being listed. There are many such applications where notices have been issued to State, but are not being taken up and consequently, the person remains incarcerated.
Similarly, in other matters, where urgent hearing is required, in cases of interim relief, matters are not being taken up.
In the given situation, if regular hearing is not possible, some broad parameters and adequate protecting measures may be introduced to hold few courts, by restricting and regulating the entry of Advocates through a protective mechanism in the courts so that minimum possible work can be undertaken. Since most of the advocates are not in a position to avail videoconferencing facility fully, it may also be considered to set up App or any mechanism to give effect to hearing in more matters. No doubt, sitting home idle is a compulsion, but more than that is injustice to the litigants and somehow, our endeavour is to utilise our resources so that more cases are taken up without compromising with the goal to defeat the Corona Virus.
Bar Council of Delhi will fully co-operate with the Hon’ble Court and abide by all the necessary safeguards and procedures as may be considered appropriate and would also help for building an App or any other system, as may be suggested by this Hon’ble Court.”
Shri K.C. Mittal, Chairman BCD while speaking to India Legal said that the Bar received many grievances from the litigants as well as its members regarding the listing of cases. Many of the lawyers who are not techno savvy are facing problems to connect with the Court. Many genuine cases are not being taken up. We also requested that wherever physical presence is possible the same may be allowed without violating the lockdown norms. So, it was decided to bring these problems to light before the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court.
–India Legal Bureau