Mumbai News

Bombay high court urged to start video-conferences – Times of India

MUMBAI: A group of senior counsels here wrote to the Bombay high court Chief Justice on Wednesday, requesting court hearings via “video-conferencing” to ensure safe access to justice, given the 21-day extended Covid-19 lockdown.
The letter, by Janak Dwarkadas, Rajani Iyer, Anil Anturkar, Mihir Desai and Gayatri Singh, to CJ B P Dharmadhikari, sought modification of procedures to affirm, file, present petitions and to prioritise PILs.
The lawyers wrote that “a delay in setting up an accessible justice system reduces chances of the poor and marginalised to obtain requisite orders against the state for access to life-saving civic amenities”.
It requested that personal presence of petitioners, -especially in PILs, in court registry, to affirm petitions be dispensed with and “e-filing” be allowed.
Expressing a “sense of appreciation” to the Chief Justice for having “taken cognizance of the gravity of the pandemic much in advance to many other courts in the country and proactively” bringing down crowds in court to a minimum, the letter stated that “the state may be found wanting in delivering civic services to all sections of society” in the “unprecedented challenge”.
The HC notifies on March 19 that hearing for urgent matters can be sought only via emails, and said two judges would preside for two hours on March 26 and 30. But lawyers said “it is imperative that the justice system evolves itself on a war-footing to be accessible” to ensure that the state response is equitable, accountable and transparent
The Gujarat high court had issued guidelines for taking up “extremely urgent matters, both civil and criminal via video-conferencing” from March 23.

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