Jun 4, 2020

Justice DY Chandrachud on May 24th held that the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic forced the Supreme Court to resort to virtual court hearings to ensure the safety of lawyers, litigants and media personnel. However virtual court hearings can never replace or substitute physical court hearings, and is merely an option of last resort. Virtual Court hearings are impeded by network issues such as poor connectivity and lag in speech. The Bar Council of India, addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, urging recommencement of physical court hearings from June 1st, The letter quoted; “We cannot even imagine of trial court work being done in/through virtual courts proceedings. Can we think of recording of evidence in virtual courts”. In the aftermath of damage caused by Cyclone Amphan, Calcutta High Court remained suspended due to poor connectivity, that could lead to disruption of the smooth functioning of benches through video-conferencing. The data as of November 2019 states that there are 59,867 cases pending in the Supreme Court, 44.75 lakh cases pending in various high courts and 3.14 crore cases pending in district and subordinate courts. Virtual courts provide a quicker mechanism for the conclusion of cases, thereby preserving the importance of judiciary.