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Supreme Court asks all HCs to inform about status of virtual hearings
9/15/2023 9:53:45 PM
NEW DELHI, Sept 15: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of all the high courts and some tribunals on whether they have disbanded the hybrid mode of hearing cases, allowing lawyers and litigants to appear in a matter through video-conferencing as well.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra issued a notice to the registrars general of all the high courts and registrars of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT), and asked them to file an affidavit.
"An affidavit be filed by the registrars on whether video-conferencing or hybrid hearings are being continued or disbanded," the bench said.
It also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to seek instructions from the finance ministry and other ministries on the status of hybrid hearings at the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal, debt recovery tribunals and other such quasi-judicial bodies.
The apex court took note of the submissions made by petitioner Sarvesh Mathur, who appeared in person, that the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stopped virtual hearings, which is causing inconvenience to the litigants.
"Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will do something for the cause, which we were thinking about for a long time. We will ask the high courts who have disbanded virtual hearings. You have brought to the notice of the court a very important issue. We are seeking a response from all the high courts and some tribunals to see what the status is," the bench told the petitioner.
It said the court will consider other issues related to an expeditious hearing of the petitioner's case pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court later.
"We can issue directions for an expeditious hearing by the high court anytime, but if we pass the direction now, then we will have to dispose of the petition and the other issue of virtual hearings will not get solved," it said.
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