In view of the spike in COVID-19 cases, the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court requesting him to promote virtual mode of hearing cases along with physical/ hybrid mode at the various benches of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The Chairman of the Bar Council, Dr. Vijay Chaudhary in the letter, expressed his concerns over the rise in cases across the State of Madhya Pradesh.
“Virtual hearings and e-filings have become the norm in both the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as all the High Courts of the country. After facing hurdles in the initial months, slowly and gradually virtual hearings had been adopted as an intrinsic habit by the legal fraternity and we were able to witness how merit and competency enabled lawyers stationed at one place appearing and arguing in multiple Forums/Courts of the country simultaneously,” the letter said.
In this regard, the Bar Council suggested that the following measures be taken into consideration.
- Switching to some efficient and user-friendly online platform: Virtual hearing platform of the High Court must be immediately shifted to some efficient, user friendly and convenient platform like Webex Cisco, Zoom, etc. (Professional Versions), with a waiting facility/waiting room for the participating counsels.
“Example in this respect can be quoted of the Delhi High Court, which has been working extremely successfully for the last almost 10 months and has been quoted as an example even by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on multiple occasions on the professional platform of Webex Cisco,” the letter stated.
- Mentioning of matters: Mentioning of matters should be done through virtual hearing system/e-Court Slip or physical mode for listing and consideration of urgent cases, including pending matters should be introduced and actively promoted as all the Bar Associations in all the three Benches of the High Court are facing problems in listing of pending matters where urgent hearing may be warranted for some reason or the other.
- E-filing platforms and constitution of steering team: E-filing platformsmust be made efficient and advocate friendly and responsive. Processing of files through the electronic platform must be swift, convenient, and faster than that being done through physical platform.
Further, the letter suggested that a steering team must be constituted comprising representatives of the State Bar Council, members of the High Court Bar Association, young knowledgeable meritorious members of the Bar headed by some of the judges of the High Court, which can prepare a list of suggestions to ensure that the e-filing interface of the High Court becomes more efficient, effective, expeditious and convenient for the filing counsels.
The letter ended with a request that the above measures be implemented urgently so that the worst impact of the pandemic is not felt by any person or individual connected with the High Court.
“Loss of any person is a loss of the whole family and fraternity connected with the High Court and therefore the aforesaid steps must be taken in no time by giving all the aforesaid issues the utmost priority, which they deserve,” it said.