Delhi HC limits access to online hearings

By Astha Joshi

The Delhi High Court Bench has informed that the link to its court proceedings, now being carried out through video-conferencing (VC) due to the pandemic, should not be given to members of the public, including reporters.

“A very unpleasant situation arose before this court during the hearing of present case. Certain unidentified persons joined the proceedings through VC and could be heard talking continuously, thereby creating hindrance in hearing the submissions of counsels and proper justice dispensation”, said Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

Justice Kait said, “I hereby direct Registry/Court Master to not provide the link to video conferencing to any other person or correspondent and the same shall be provided only to advocates concerned, IO concerned, parties in person in case the petition is filed for quashing and to the persons specifically directed by this court to join the proceedings.”

In his 21st September’s order, Justice Kait said, “It is made clear that no advocate shall share the link with anyone else except the senior advocates or the advocates appearing on their behalf.”

According to the data released by the High Court, 95% of the advocates favored the online mode over the physical hearing.

On August 25, the Delhi High Court decided that the five Benches will start keeping physical hearings on a rotation basis while the remaining will continue to take up matters through VC.

But, most advocates whose matters were listed before the court developed for physical hearing, displayed their inability, qualm, or unwillingness to arrive physically and preferably opted for taking up the cases through VC.

The High Court, in its statement, earlier said that, so far, 45 officials (including contractual and outsourced staff) and 192 officers of the District Courts had caught COVID-19.

Despite the unfavorable conditions, the court decided not to terminate the functioning of physical courts altogether. But, determined to proceed with physical hearings with a certain number of Benches.