Saturday, December 9, 2023

Delhi High Court refuses plea seeking virtual court proceedings, says issue under consideration

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The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking adoption of virtual court proceedings by courts and tribunals in the national capital as a norm along with physical functioning, while observing that a decision in this respect was already under consideration at the administrative side.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, while dismissing the instant petition filed by a practising Advocate, observed thus:

“We see no reason to entertain this writ petition mainly for the reason that the High Court is already working with the issue which is involved and the decision is being taken by the High Court on the administrative side with the help of Committees whose members are the sitting Judges of the Delhi High Court and after due deliberations and discussions, the issue involved in this writ petition is being looked into.”

“Looking into the present pandemic condition prevailing in Delhi, we are modifying our decision on the administrative side,” added the Bench.

The Public Interest Litigation was filed by Advocate Mujeeb Ur Rehman, seeking a direction to the Registry to adopt virtual court proceedings through video conferencing as a norm, in matters where physical presence of litigants and their counsels in courts is not necessary, on ground that the Covid-19 pandemic is still persistent all over the country.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is neither vanished nor all the people have been vaccinated for it, so the danger is still continuing, and it may continue for years,” the plea read.

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It was contended in the petition that adopting virtual court proceedings to ensure functioning of courts and tribunals on account of advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, could be used in the long-run in order to make optimum use of time and efficiency by both the courts as well as the counsels; which in turn, could be utilized to dispose of a large number of cases and to reduce the huge pendency of cases piled up before courts. Further, it was contended that it would also help in environment conservation in the form of reduction in usage of papers.

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