A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice (CJI) SA Bobde has issued guidelines for the courts to remain functional by leveraging on video conferencing, reports Financial Express.
While directing the lower courts to make all appropriate arrangements for litigants who cannot access video conferencing facilities, the top court has granted the High Courts a free hand to devise the modalities to conduct hearings.
The Supreme Court has meanwhile cleared that no evidence will be recorded via video conferencing in any case and that if it may be felt necessary, then the presiding officer will ensure that distance will be maintained inside the courtroom to facilitate the recording of evidence.
Top court has also emphasised that the courts shall have the power to restrict entry into the courtrooms to maintain social distancing norms, while adding that presiding officer shall not restrict the entry of parties to the case unless the said parties are suffering from any health issues. It has also decreed that the presiding officer shall have the power to adjourn the proceedings if the crowd cannot be managed.
The development comes as the Judiciary of the land gears up to rise up to the unprecedented and unique challenges thrown at its doors by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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