Tuesday, February 7, 2023

NGT To Keep Functioning Via Video Conferencing Post Lockdown

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The National Green Tribunal, New Delhi on Tuesday issued an office order in which states that judicial work will be conducted by the Benches of NGT only by Video Conferencing till the situation of Corona improves i.e post lockdown.

The order says that the Government of India vide order dated 15th of April has directed functioning of Government establishments during lockdown period on account of pandemic Covid-19, requiring 100% attendance of the officers of level of Deputy Secretary and above and upto 33% attendance of remaining staff.

In view of the above order the NGT, New Delhi has decided that:-

  • With effect from 04.05.2020, Hon’ble the Chairperson and Hon’ble Members of the National Green Tribunal, as well all the officers of the National Green Tribunal (Deputy Registrars and above) will attend the Office with 100% attendance, while the remaining staff upto 33% strength shall physically attend the Office as separately notified from time to time.  The section heads/incharge of all sections shall prepare rosters of staff required to attend office physically by rotation.  The staff members not required to present physically at the Office, shall always remain available on phone and electronic means of communication, and shall attend office physically as and when required.
  • Considering the health and safety of lawyers / public / litigants / staff, till the situation of Corona improves, judicial work will be conducted by the Benches of NGT only by Video Conferencing, without physical presence/appearance of parties or their counsel in the NGT complex.  Only online filing (e-filing) of cases is allowed and no physical filing is permitted.  The parties/lawyers may request for listing or adjournment of their cases or make urgent mentioning, by sending an email in advance to judicial- ngt@nic.in. All communication with NGT qua listing of cases, filing of documents/reports, filing of written submissions / synopsis / audio of oral submissions (if any) etc. shall be done only through this email ID.
  • The lawyers/litigants desirous of participating personally in VC hearings are required to send request at the above email ID in advance, giving their names, case title, case number, date of hearing, email IDs, mobile numbers, etc.  For VC hearings, NGT shall be using “Vidyo” App whereby users can join Vidyo room from their mobile phones/laptops/desktops having adequate internet facility.  Vidyo App can be downloaded from link given in website ecourtvc.nic.in as well as Google Play Store (for android) and Apple Store (for iOS).  If request for personal hearing through VC is permitted by the Bench, the time and link with one-time password for VC hearing shall be shared with the parties by the Office.
  • Entry to NGT complex shall be restricted only to its staff.  All the safety and precautionary guidelines issued by the Government shall be scrupulously followed by all concerned.  The staff shall maintain social distancing norms and protocols, shall wear face masks throughout, shall pass through thermal scanner at entry gate and shall sanitize/wash hands at appropriate intervals.  There shall be no crowding at any place / branch in NGT complex and seating of staff shall be arranged accordingly. The NGT complex, including surfaces of furniture and frequently touched objects, shall be sanitized with disinfectants on daily basis.

The Competent Authority has said that the said order will be modified as per the directions and instructions received from the Government. The Government is set to decide whether the nationwide lockdown has to be lifted gradually or to be extend the same in order to contain the COVID-19.

-India Legal Bureau

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