On 28.05.2020, a Public Interest Litigation matter came before the Delhi High Court. The PIL sought functioning of Family Courts in Delhi via video conferencing. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon heard the matter.
Facts of the Case
The petitioner has filed this petition for dissolving his marriage. The dissolution is sought on the ground of cruelty and adultery. The matter is already pending before the Family Court at Delhi. Due to nationwide lockdown, the recording of evidence did not happen.
Since the Family Courts are not functioning, the petitioner has filed this petition. The petition seeks a direction for the mode of the recording of evidence. For instance, video conferencing or any such other manner as may be workable.
The petition first came up before a Single Judge of this Court on 21.05.2020. The Single Judge advised that the matter falls in the roster of the Division Bench of this Court. The Single Judge Bench ordered the Division Bench to take the order. Hence, the petition has come before this bench.
Arguments by the Petitioners
An enquiry got imposed upon the counsel appearing for respondent no. 1 i.e. the wife, of whether they are willing to proceed with the recording of evidence via video conferencing or in any other manner. He stated that they are not willing for the recording of evidence through any methods. The Counsel insisted on recording the evidence only in a physical Court.
The counsel for the petitioner priorly anticipated this stand of the respondents. As a result, he had filed the petition as a PIL. He has also sought a direction to all the Family Courts to allow recording of evidence via video conferencing. In such a case, the Presiding Judge of the Family Court will do the recording or one by the issuance of a commission.
The counsel for the petitioner also referred to various circulars issued by this Court. He is desirous of supplementing the same by judicial order from this Court. The order is directing to record the evidence via video conferencing in the matters pending before the Family Courts. In six months, they must all get over.
Advocate Mahindro, member of the Bar, for the petitioner also gave suggestions. He spoke about the enlarged functioning of the Courts. He also mentioned about the ‘Video Conferencing Guidelines’ issued by the High Court of Delhi. Further, he said that the guidelines of proceedings between Courts and remote sites appear to be wide enough to take care of the situation. Additionally, he stated that even if these guidelines have to be supplemented, the said aspect can work for this petition.
The counsel for the petitioner had impleaded this Court, the government and the Family Courts as respondents. The Court issued a notice to these respondents, who may also suggest for the functioning of the Courts via video conferencing.
The Court also impleaded various Bar Associations of the District Courts and issued notices to them. The Bench also directed to list the matter before an appropriate bench as it is a PIL. Now, the matter is listed for 04.06.2020.
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