COVID-19: Justice Chandrachud holds meet with HC judges for prompt hearing of urgent matters
Justice Chandrachud emphasised that prompt measures be adopted 'at this time of crisis', and said use of technology must be institutionalised even after lockdown is lifted and normalcy returns.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court E-committee Chairperson Justice D Y Chandrachud has held a meeting through video conferencing with high court judges heading such committees to ensure urgent matters are heard promptly and litigants are not required to come to court during the lockdown.
Justice Chandrachud emphasised that prompt measures be adopted "at this time of crisis" and said the use of technology must be institutionalised even after the lockdown is lifted and normalcy returns.
The committee, in its meeting on Friday, also discussed the possibility of live streaming of court proceedings held by video conferencing but based on an assessment of technical issues like availability of bandwidth and dedicated servers, it was felt that the recordings should be hosted on court websites by the next day to ensure that people have access to the proceedings.
The committee also noted that, ideally, judicial officers and advocates should work from their homes but it was left to the high courts to decide to what extent this was feasible.
Justice Chandrachud reviewed the measures initiated by the high courts in the operation of virtual courts and after noting the difficulties faced by some states in e-filing of cases, he proposed a meeting of the chairpersons of the computer committees of the high courts to discuss the issues.
Judges of 23 high courts, heading the computer committees, participated in the meeting.
The chairpersons of computer committees shared their views on steps taken and the challenges faced and agreed with the suggestions of Justice Chandrachud on taking prompt measures and institutionalising the use of technology.
Justice Chandrachud also informed the judges about an e-filing module which is in an advanced stage of development in the Supreme Court and it was agreed that such modes may be used during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He suggested the high courts may use the funds unutilised so far from Phase II of the e-courts project for meeting immediate needs and assured that demands for funds or software will be promptly processed by the e-committee and submitted to the Department of Justice.