In a huge step towards the modernisation of the Justice delivery system in India, The Hon'ble Supreme Court on Monday authorised the adoption of measures to 'ensure robust functioning of the judicial system through video conferencing technologies.' The bench comprising of Hon'ble CJI S.A. BOBDE, D.Y. CHANDRACHUD, L. NAGESWARA RAO JJ. recognised the need for applying tech-friendly and viable options not only for this time of the lockdown but in a long-run towards making of virtual-courts.
Supreme Court using its powers under Art 142 of Constitution of India, listed and heard matter suo motu for considering the delivery of justice through technology in the turbulent times in courts across the country and laid down -
- SC, HCs and other courts should follow all public health guidelines and social distancing rules while dispensing justice.
- Supreme Court of India and all High Courts are authorized to adopt measures required to ensure the robust functioning of the judicial system through the use of video conferencing technologies
- High Courts to make rules and are authorised to determine the modalities which are suitable to the temporary transition
- Lower Courts to adopt the same measures.
- Concerned courts shall maintain a helpline to ensure that any complaint in regard to the quality or audibility of feed shall be communicated during the proceeding or immediately after its conclusion - no grievance shall be entertained thereafter.
- The court shall duly notify and make available the facilities for video conferencing for such litigants who do not have the means or access to video conferencing facilities.
- Until appropriate rules are framed by the High Courts, video conferencing shall be mainly employed for hearing arguments whether at the trial stage or at the appellate stage- evidence shall not be recorded without the mutual consent of both the parties by video conferencing.
Download Order here.