Video conferencing started in courts due to pandemic, not to replace physical hearings: SC judge

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New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) Courts across the country have shifted to virtual hearing due to coronavirus pandemic keeping in mind public health of lawyers and litigants, Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud said on Friday.

The apex court judge said the video conferencing was started as a platform to answer problems of pandemic and to ensure that courts were functional and available to those whose rights were being infringed.

It was not aimed to replace oral hearings, he said.

'The idea is to show the flexibility of the Indian Judicial system. Not for a moment do we want to replace the physical hearing. But we are conscious of the need to protect the public health of our lawyers, litigants who come to our country or across the country,' Justice Chandrachud, who is also the Chairperson of the e-committee, said while speaking at the inauguration of a new website for judgments and e-Filing.

The apex court judge said the e-committee is on the anvil of finalising rules for live streaming of court proceedings and Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Bikram Nath has already initiated a pilot project of on youtube.

Speaking about the new e-filing process, Justice Chandrachud said there are videos to train the lawyers and the system cannot be successful unless the advocates are on board and the involvement of Bar is critical for the success of the project.

'We don't put the burden of obtaining access to justice on citizens and lawyers. We take that burden and responsibility on ourselves. The idea is that every Court complex must have infra-structurally provided and duly manned E-Seva Kendra,' he said. PTI PKS RKS RKS