Digital filing of documents should be encouraged; capitalise upon COVID-19 experience: HC

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New Delhi, Mar 2 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has said that filing of digital documents in courts should be encouraged to capitalise upon the learning and experience derived during the COVID-19 pandemic when proceedings were being conducted virtually.

The high court mentioned that it has already been decided to resume full-fledged physical functioning of courts from March 15 onwards, which would mean that all courts, including the family courts, would be able to take up matters including recording of evidence in physical mode.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said during the pandemic, the State has provided substantial infrastructure to enable the courts to function through online mode.

It said the lawyer community has also adapted filing of cases during this pandemic period through the online/ electronic mode and the courts have also been proficiently taking up cases through online mode.

“The learning and experience derived during this period, in our view, should be capitalised upon, and apart from filing in the physical mode, the filing of digital pleadings and documents should also be encouraged. The same would save the resources, which the court would have to otherwise deploy in digitising the pleadings, documents and records,” the high court said.

The court’s order came while hearing a petition which had primarily sought directions for taking up of matters virtually, including recording of evidence through online mode when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak.

The court said from time to time it has passed several orders in this petition to deal with the issues raised by the petitioner including directions passed on the administrative side for filing of cases through online mode as well. With the passage of time, the situation improved, resulting in resumption of physical filing of documents and pleadings, it said.

The court noted that advocate Ankur Mahindro, representing the petitioner, has proposed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in this regard which will help in dealing with the aspect of digital filings.

“Considering the fact that courts are resuming normal functioning from March 15, we do not see any need to keep this petition pending any further. We, therefore, dispose of this petition with a direction to the respondent/state and the Delhi High Court to examine the SOP provided by advocate Mahindro and take their own decisions with regard to simultaneous filing of digital pleadings/records, and digitisation of pending cases, in the light of our observations,” the bench said. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS