Order, order...but virtually: Karnatka HC leads in effective use of technology

The judicial system too has been affected. Instead of filing into courtrooms, judges and advocates have been logging into Zoom.

Published: 23rd November 2020 05:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd November 2020 01:11 PM   |  A+A-

Gavel, Court hammer, law

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Coronavirus has changed our lives. And the judicial system too has been affected. Instead of filing into courtrooms, judges and advocates have been logging into Zoom. It’s a way to keep legal proceedings moving in the age of coronavirus.

Framing its own Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for hearing cases in the high court and conducting trials in the district and taluk courts, the Karnataka High Court has been in the forefront in the effective use of technology in the country.

“Covid-19 has badly affected the High Court, with over 180 staffers testing positive, including Registrars and judicial officers, by the end of October. To reduce the footfall, there was no option but to take recourse to virtual hearing,” Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka said in a recent judgment.

“The benefits of the video conference hearing which commenced due to Covid-19 outweigh the technical problems,” Dr Justice D Y Chandrachud, judge of Supreme Court, said while appreciating the Karnataka High Court during the launch of its e-facilities.

This new mode of dispensing judgment saw its longest hearing.

“Perhaps this case must be the longest hearing conducted -- 61 hours in 25 working days -- through video conferencing. The record of these petitions run into more than 5,000 pages. The members of the Bar could argue while sitting in New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai...”

This was mentioned by a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi in a 336-page judgment on October 24, in relation to a batch of petitions over winding up six mutual funds schemes by Franklin Templeton Trustee Services Private Limited.

This shows the efficient service being rendered by the staff in making virtual hearing, which was launched in the first week of April after lockdown, a big success in the state. Initially, the high court took up public interest matters suo motu considering their urgency, and eventually began hearing all cases.

A team of officers will take the names and contact numbers of advocates who have filed vakalath and ensure the link/login ID and password generated through automation reaches them daily. In the high court, access will be supplied for up to 100 advocates in each court hall.

“The virtual hearing has helped the advocates save their time and money,” said K Satish, a young advocate.

There is a flip side too. Recently, the Chief Justice requested the advocates not to share the login ID and password with clients, as many joined the hearing of IMA ponzi scam cases unauthorisedly.

Clients can be accommodated by the respective advocates if needed, the Chief Justice said, after the hearing got disconnected suddenly due to over number of users. The Chief Justice has been taking measures to address the technical issues.

Court hearings online

A court-hall-wise video conference link with a passcode will be web hosted on the high court’s website, with effect from Monday. Advocates must register themselves to use it. 



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp