The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Delhi Government’s response on a plea seeking direction to conduct virtual court hearings in Delhi School Tribunal and to provide necessary facility to initiate the same. The petition has been filed by Advocate Mukesh Kumar who was aggrieved by the initiation of physical hearings in the Covid-19 pandemic situation. A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan heard the case.
Since the video conferencing facility had not been put in place by the Delhi Directorate of Education despite several requests, the tribunal had started physical hearings with effect from October 7 in two sessions, one in morning and second in evening subject to the standard operating protocol of the Delhi High Court.
The petitioner argued that due to physical hearings being conducted daily at the Delhi School Tribunal, all litigants and their counsels are exposed to the health risk amid Covid-19 pandemic. This is against the fundamental rights on protection of life and personal liberty, which include protection of healthy life of citizens under Article 21 read with Article 47 of the Constitution of India involving larger public interest.
Despite repeated communication, the Delhi Directorate of Education has not provided proper infrastructure to Delhi School Tribunal, which is functioning with one single court. The said physical hearing conducted by the Delhi School Tribunal happened in the absence of any requisite infrastructure for the Virtual Court hearing.