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Challenges of Judiciary during Covid-19

With the Covid-19, one thing which became a norm and common practice is the concept of Work from Home. It is a concept, where people work from their own respective home and does not have to come to their office physically. Few industries including IT has been happy about it since all their works happen online, while the manufacturing industry is not at all happy with the Work from Home concept and want their employees to return at the workplace with full capacity. However, there is one place which has never in past have experienced the Work from Home system but had to use internet and technology for the projection of democracy in India and that is the judicial system. Indian courts remained operational throughout Lockdown and Covid-19 period and have undergone a tremendous job of bringing justice to the doors of common citizens at the most difficult times when the whole world including India was fighting one of the deadliest virus worlds have ever seen.

As a lawyer, it was difficult for the councils to represent their clients through online mode. Senior and reputed lawyers run their profession based on their knowledge, skill and face value. With the lack of physical hearing, they suffered huge loss. Fresh or new lawyers had different kind of problems. Due to online hearing, senior and experienced lawyers started taking more cases since they could easily save time and appear in multiple cases and different court per day. This have adversely affected the new lawyers who have started getting less cases. Both the senior/experienced lawyer and new lawyer at various point of time requested Hon’ble Judge’s to resume the physical hearing. Lawyers in back of mind also thought that the work of judge’s in virtual hearing had become easier and that they’re not suffering at all. But is it so?

Let us understand from the judge’s point of view. As a judge, one cannot mute himself randomly as and when he wishes to, nor her/she could switch off his video. As a judge, the world is watching them and looking for justice and thus they cannot take regular breaks for tea, snacks, and cigarettes. Judges unlike lawyers cannot sit on couch, bed or sofa while listening to an argument or giving a verdict but must sit on them throughout like a normal court hearing that too in full uniform. Judge’s life needs a lot of patience and this Covid-19 showed us the efficiency of Indian judicial system. With the common intention of effective work from Bar and Bench, the judicial system of India have become stronger. During Covid-19, Supreme Court opened on a holiday to protect the Fundamental rights of a Journalist who was being which hunted by a state machinery. In another case, Supreme Court ordered CBI inquiry in the alleged murder of a Bollywood actor at a time when two states were confronting one another on the issue. Needless to mention, every High Court and all the subordinate courts in the entire country have worked tirelessly so to maintain justice in the society. A major portion of credit also goes to the staffs of the court including stenographer, court master/reader, officials from filing and listing section and other staffs who have made it possible for the courts to function. Together, we stand against Covid-19 and defeated the challenges.

 

Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com

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