The Chairman of the Bar Council has announced to issue a letter to the Prime Minister, the CJI, the Chief Minister, Ministers of Electronics, IT and Communication, Chairperson of the Supreme Court e-Committee, and the Chief Justices of the High Courts. The letter will consist of the issue on virtual hearings and e-filing.
The grievances are on the lack of ability of lawyers to access the virtual hearings. Additionally, the immediate need to resume limited physical hearings with safety measures is also highlighted.
What Requests were Made?
The BCI chairman Mr Maan Kumar Mishra conducted a press conference. BCI stated that it will request the government to provide electronic devices. These devices shall be for needy lawyers for virtual hearings and e-filing. They stated in the press conference that-
“The Union Government, in collaboration with the State Governments, is requested and required to provide basic Ipads/laptops to all needy Advocates of the country for the purpose of e-filing and virtual hearings from the confines of their private space, from their homes, offices etc.”
A request for wifi with printer and scanners at every Bar Association office was also made. A request to the Supreme Court and High Courts will be to provide professionals. They will give guidance on how to attend virtual hearings and assist in e-filing. Additionally, a prayer to resume physical hearing once the situation is under control will be also made. Further, they will also make a request to implement social distancing and sanitize the court premises twice a day.
The Necessary Support from the Government
BCI put the focus on the fact that support from the government is essential. Supreme Court has sought data from the lawyers to facilitate the virtual hearings. Without the support of the government, it would be pointless to collect the data. BCI stated that:
“…the Legal fraternity and the poor litigants need the vital support and impetus from our Governments to achieve the goal/s because, without such support scheme, the data would remain a scheme/data in documents only.”
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