Office order modified by Delhi High Court: Allows lawyers to conduct proceedings via physical or virtual methods

Jan22,2021 #Delhi High Court
Delhi high court law insider
Delhi high court law insider

Sreya Kanugula

After the severe backlash against its call for the continuation of physical hearings, the High Court of Delhi had given lawyers permission that through advanced intimation to the Court they may appear through video conferencing as well.

Through the office order given under Chief Justice DN Patel’s authority, this decision was given to them as such:

Matters shall be taken up through physical mode as per the Roster of Sitting of the Hon’ble Judges of this Court. However, request for taking up any such matter through virtual mode shall be entertained by the Court wherever advance intimation is provided.”

The Supreme Court’s decision arrived days after two pleas were disposed of by the Top Court which challenged their decision to continue large-scale hearings via the physical mode (with the option to appear virtually), trusting that the Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice ‘would do the needful.’

Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde stated at one of the posting dates that they saw the gravity of the problem and that they didn’t want to interfere with Chief Justices’ administrative decisions. They asked the petitioners of the pleas to go back to the HC and have their grievances addressed directly.

On January 20, 2021, the SC disposed of those petitions and considered them withdrawn.

They did so after Senior Advocate Kapil Siba had made submissions regarding the matter that there was a meeting to be held that day, with the Registrar-General of Delhi HC to discuss it at hand.

On January 22, an office order was issued by the Registrar General, inter alia intimating the notice of virtual hearings being continued on cases if they’re intimated beforehand to the Court.

The intimation of how the HC had already begun plans to conduct hybrid hearings in cases in which one party might join through virtual means whereas the other party in the case, might be present physically in front of the Court.

Till a time such as that arrived, the lawyers would be given the option to choose and prepare for virtual hearings.

The Delhi High Court’s decision to continue large-scale hearings physically before the Court and the same applying for other sub-ordinate Delhi courts had come into effect from January 18th.

It was challenged on the grounds that it would compel not only advocated but also the staff of the courts, litigants, and other people appearing in front of the Courts to be put at risk on their own accord and would endanger the health of their family members as well to earn for their livelihood.

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