HC asks Registrar to assess infrastructure needs of trial courts for hybrid hearings

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked its Registrar General to make an assessment of the infrastructural requirements at the earliest to facilitate hybrid hearings in trial courts and forward the details to the Delhi government.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said that after receiving the data from the Registrar General, the government will make the budgetary allocation.

The court’s direction came after the counsel for Delhi government submitted that budgetary allocation could be made only after such an assessment is placed before it.

The court was hearing two pleas by lawyers Anil Kumar Hajelay and Manashwy Jha seeking various prayers including that the decision to commence physical hearings by all judges from March 15 be deferred till the time all the advocates are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The prayers also included conducting hybrid hearings in district courts on physical hearing days in view of the COVID-19 threat.

The high court had earlier asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit on the steps taken by it to provide infrastructure to subordinate courts for hybrid hearings.

During the hearing, petitioner Hajeley raised the issue that there are several quasi-judicial bodies in the national capital, like office of Deputy Labour Commissioner and consumer redressal which are conducting only physical hearings.

The high court said whenever quasi-judicial bodies have a request, subject to the availability of infrastructure, hybrid hearings should be permitted just as the high court and lower courts.

The Delhi government’s counsel submitted that the state shall undertake an assessment of the infrastructural requirements of such bodies and make budgetary allocation for setting up hybrid system there.

During the hearing, advocate Manish Vashisht made a suggestion regarding vaccination of eligible lawyers in a facility provided by the high court.

To this, the bench said, “Let us look at it in the administrative side. We are not opposed to the idea... We don't want any flooding.' The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 27. PTI SKV SA