Lawyers of district courts seeks suspension of HC's administrative order

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (PTI) The Coordination Committee of all district courts bar associations of Delhi Thursday sought suspension of the Delhi High Court's order which said that from now if an advocate or litigant stays away from the virtual proceedings after being intimated about the case, the concerned subordinate court can proceed in the matter depending on urgency of circumstances.

The committee requested the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court to suspend the order with immediate effect till either the entire physical working of the courts was started or at least the hybrid system (where a party can appear physical while the other can appear through virtual medium), was introduced, said a statement.

“Strangely while the financial situation and status of majority of the lawyers has deteriorated, your Hon'ble Self decided to start passing of adverse orders on account of non-appearance through video conferencing, which is a complete reversal of the acknowledged and admitted state of affairs in Delhi,” the statement said.

In an administrative order passed on November 17, the high court had said it has reviewed its August 15 office order by which it was directed that the courts subordinate to it shall not pass any adverse order in non-urgent or routine matters where the concerned advocate or litigant is unable to join the proceedings through video conferencing, till the time the physical functioning of the courts is resumed.

The six district courts in the national capital are conducting proceedings through video conferencing in a restricted manner since March to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the statement, the committee's Chairman Sanjeev Nasiar and Secretary General Rakesh Chahar, said in absence of the hybrid system the effective working of the courts was heavily impacted.

“Hybrid system would both be safe and effective in as much as any lawyer who would like to attend the proceedings through virtual platform would have the option to do so while the other has the option to attend the same through physical platform,” the statement said.

It further sought a Toll-Free number where a lawyer could call up and register their protest so that the actual ground reality can be brought to the high court's notice.

It said that thousands of protests would be lodged on such a number within days which would be an eye opener for those taking decisions.

It further claimed that instead of considering to move in the right direction, the high court has taken a step back by not only passing the order dated November 17, but also declaring that there would be 34 digital courts, proposed to hear matters related to Negotiable Instruments Act.

It said such matters were conducted by young lawyers with low fee structures.

“lt is a major hit below the belt to the legal community where it is expected that the lawyers who are unable to today upgrade their systems to hold virtual hearing would now further loose work on account of matters of NI Act being conducted through digital medium, thus either requiring them to undertake further financial burden or to lose work,” the statement said.

The high court has been taking decisions ignoring the actual ground reality and without hearing the representatives of the Bar and the lawyers, it claimed.

“ln case the demands are not met then we would have no option but to physically approach your Hon'ble self either in the High court premises or at the residence to register our protest and make our demands,” Nasiar said. PTI URD RKS RKS

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