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It’s time for a virtual judiciary

It’s time for a virtual judiciary R. Anand and V. Ranganathan are Chartered Accountants Introduction During the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, it has become clear that many activities can simply be done online. Over the last decade, Indians have embraced technology in a greater way than ever before. Today, in these exceptional circumstances, ‘work from home’ is a concept whose time has come like never before. Many offices are gearing

The epidemic and ensuring safety in courts

The epidemic and ensuring safety in courts By, K. Subramanian is Senior Advocate and former Advocate General of Tamil Nadu. E-mail: rks_lawyer@yahoo.com Introduction In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India, the Bar Council of India has opposed the continuation of virtual hearings once the lockdown is lifted, on the grounds that 90% of the advocates and judges are “unaware of technology and its nuances”. On April 6, invoking its powers under Article 142 of the

Virtual courts - worldwide

Virtual courts - worldwide India: online hearings in SC, HCs The Supreme Court and High Courts have resorted to virtual courtrooms, arguing that physical hearings are not necessary for meeting the constitutional stipulation of “open” courts. Now, with 100 Mbps Internet speed, advocates have been appearing working from home on virtual screens, and some important cases have been heard. The Supreme Court uses email and messaging services for filing of matters and conducting

A time for reform in courts

A time for reform in courts V.V. Sivakumar and Chitranshul Sinha are partners at Dua Associates, Advocates and Solicitors Part of: GS-II- Judicial reforms  (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) The Supreme Court can move away from an oral hearing-based system to one based on written submission The pandemic has turned the world on its head. No aspect of life has escaped unscathed. This includes the functioning of courts and tribunals. The judiciary has limited its work to hearing urgent ma

Mediation in the age of COVID-19 (Online Mediation)

Mediation in the age of COVID-19 By, Sriram Panchu is Senior Advocate and Mediator, and President, Mediators India. Email: srirampanchu@gmail.com Context # We live in strange times. Old certainties have given way to new uncertainties. # Down the ages, Lady Justice, sword in one hand and eyes blindfolded, has been pretty much like the Rock of Gibraltar, ensuring stability, but also being resistant to change. # One bug, christened COVID-19, comes along and the Lady is reeling.

Gujarat High Court 1st to Live Stream Court Proceedings on Youtube

Gujarat High Court 1st to Live Stream Court Proceedings on Youtube The High Court allowed the open court proceedings through the video conferencing, except the proceedings to be conducted in camera. In camera means in private chambers of a judge, with the press and public excluded. It observed that the initiative of live telecast is on an experimental basis and the aspect of continuing with or adapting the modality of live court proceedings will be decided based on the outcome of t

Judicial Reforms

Judicial Reforms Justice Lokur discusses about the Judiciary and the Judicial Reforms needed for the country. Judges should not be “hypersensitive” about criticism. It was high time judges sat down for an introspection on what had gone wrong and what was to be done, he said. There should be a “robust, strong, uninhibited and informed criticism of the functioning of the judiciary”. #joinourtelegram# The Supreme Court has been at the centre of a furio

Judicial Activism and Liberty

Judicial Activism and Liberty In early November 2020, after the overnight listing of a defective petition, the Supreme Court of India granted bail to the television anchor, Arnab Goswami. In a section of the judgment, delivered later on November 27 and titled “Human Liberty and the role of courts”, the top court noted that “human liberty is a precious constitutional value”; that “the writ of liberty runs through the fabric of the Constitution”; that i

Master and the roster-Judicial Reforms

Master and the roster-Judicial Reforms Introduction This article talks about the misuse of the exclusive power of CJI as a Master of the Roster and the need for judicial reforms. Singular power (Against the Principles of Natural Justice) Singular Power: This is the singular power of the CJI as the Master of the Roster – i.e., the vesting of exclusive discretion in the Chief Justice to constitute benches and allocate cases. In fact, this power lay at the heart o

Supreme court must hold Circuit benches

Supreme court must hold Circuit benches Introduction It is ironic that it has taken a pandemic to acknowledge the significance of fair and equal access to the Supreme Court through virtual hearings Increasing reach Even at the time the Constitution was being debated by the Constituent Assembly, geographical access to the Supreme Court was flagged as a concern. The B.R. Ambedkar-led Drafting Committee was nevertheless of the view that the Court must have a specified place o

Draft rules for live-streaming and recording court proceedings

Draft rules for live-streaming and recording court proceedings Draft Rules released by the Supreme Court e-Committee for live-streaming and recording court proceedings propose a 10-minute delay in transmission and exclusion of communally sensitive cases and matters that involve sexual offences and gender violence against women. The right of access to justice, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, “encompasses the right to access live court proceedings”. The Supre

Tele Law Programme under Department of Justice

Tele Law Programme under Department of Justice Tele–Law began its humble journey in 2017 by covering 170 districts in 11 States through 1800 CSCs. In 2019, 115 Aspirational Districts were added taking the number of CSCs to 29,860. Tele-Law programme is presently operational in 633 districts (including 115 Aspirational Districts) across 34 States/UTs through a network of 50,000 CSCs.  The programme connects the disadvantaged and needy seeking legal advice from Panel Lawyers

The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021

Recently, the President promulgated Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021 through which the Appellate authorities under nine laws have been replaced with High Courts. (Click here to read about Administrative Tribunals in India) The Ordinance amended the Finance Act 2017 to include provisions related to the composition of search-cum-selection committees, and term of office of members in the Act itself. The Finance Act 2017

Schemes for Judiciary

Schemes for Judiciary Cabinet has approved continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary for further five years from 01.04.2021 to 31.03.2026 at a total cost of Rs.9000 crore, out of which Central share will be Rs.5357 crore including Rs. 50 crore for the Gram Nyayalayas Scheme and their implementation in a Mission Mode through National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms. Need for the scheme: Several co

NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) Act 1987

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes. NALSA is located at New Delhi. Hon’ble Mr. Justice N. V. Ramana, The Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief. In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALS

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