[COVID-19] Video Conferencing, web-cast of live proceedings and e-filing: What Supreme Court E-committee head Justice DY Chandrachud said
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[COVID-19] Video Conferencing, web-cast of live proceedings and e-filing: What Supreme Court E-committee head Justice DY Chandrachud said

Shruti Mahajan

Head of the Supreme Court E-Committee Justice DY Chandrachud today said that while technology used at the Supreme Court was advancing in some respects, live webcast of proceedings will not be open to all, for the moment.

When a Bench headed by Justice Chandrachud assembled for delivering judgments today, he said that hearings through video conferencing were going well.

Since the Court suspended its regular functioning and opened its doors for hearing only extremely urgent cases, its hearings have been conducted through video conferencing. This, to ensure that norms of social distancing are maintained and contact among people is avoided at all possible levels in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To facilitate services that would not require the presence of clerks in the Supreme Court premises for filing documents, an e-filing software has been developed which is now "in its advanced stage of trial", Chandrachud J said.

The members of the Supreme Court Bar association (SCBA) and the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) may get to check the application soon, he further hinted.

Of late, various quarters have called for the need to implement the Court's guidelines as regards live streaming of proceedings, issued in the Swapnil Tripathi case.

The Court today revealed that at the moment, the plan is to only allow webcast of the proceedings through a password protected link generated by the Supreme Court's office.

This would mean that live streaming of the proceedings will be restricted to a specified section of the people who are in possession of the Court-generated password protected link.

While Justice Chandrachud said that video conferencing for hearings has been going well thus far, there have been complaints from lawyers who have faced trouble owing to technical glitches. On the issue of which platforms can be used for video conferencing, the Supreme Court had designated the Vidyo app for the proceedings. Hearings have also been conducted through WhatsApp video calls.

Justice Chandrachud pointed out that video conferencing is now being carried out at all High Courts, and that the choice of platform to use is left open to the respective High Courts.

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