Patiala House court
Patiala House court
Litigation News

Delhi Govt sanctions over Rs 6 crore to upgrade existing internet connection at District Courts and digitise court records

Aditi Singh

The Delhi Government has sanctioned over Rs 6 crore for digitization of District Court records and upgrading the existing internet connection to 1gbps in all District Courts complexes. (Anand Vaid vs Preety Vaid vs Ors)

An affidavit to this effect was filed by the Delhi Government before Delhi High Court in a petition seeking directions to Family Courts to allow recording of evidence via video conferencing during COVID-19 pandemic.

.. sanction of expenditure of Rs 3.0 Crores towards digitization of approximately three crore pages of court files has been granted (by the Delhi Government) on 11.06.2020. Similarly, administrative approval and expenditure sanction of Rs 3,20,38,200/- has been granted for upgradation/enhancement of the existing leased lines from 34 mbps to 1gbps in all District Courts complexes.
Delhi High Court recorded.

In view of the fact that requests for better internet connection and digitization of court records had repeatedly been made to the Delhi Government by the Authorities, the Court had previously directed the Delhi Government to indicate the time required to fulfil the requests alongwith reasons for failing to take actions for the past two and a half years.

After taking on record the sanctioned expenditure towards the abovementioned purpose, the Court remarked,

As for the explanation sought to be offered by the respondent No.1/ GNCTD for the inaction and its part from 27.11.2018 till date, lesser said the better. Respondent No.2/GNCTD ought to have realised that due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic followed by the lockdown declared by it, physical hearings in courts were not a viable option and keeping in mind the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi and the social distancing norms, holding virtual courts remains the need of the hour. This aspect was duly pointed out to the respondent No.2/GNCTD even in the month of May, 2020 when the entire country was in a lockdown, but did not elicit any positive response till orders on the judicial side had to be passed on the last date, in the present proceedings.
Delhi High Court

The Court also emphasised that in terms of the directions issued by the Committee constituted by Chief Justice for Graded Opening of the High Court and the Subordinate Courts, Judicial Officers would be entitled to work from home by conducting virtual hearings.

It was, therefore, imperative that sufficient bandwidth be provided to them to run the courts electronically, the Court said as it granted two weeks' time to Delhi Government to process the projects related to digitisation and degradation of internet connection in the District Court Complexes.

It further cautioned that any delay in sanction of the connected issues shall be treated as an attempt to impede access to justice for the litigants.

As far as other pending sanctions relating to other branches and projects of the District Courts are concerned, such as those relating to the Recruitment Cell, Judicial Branch and pool car sanction, the Court granted four weeks' time to the Delhi Government to process the same.

The matter would be heard next on July 2.

Additional Standing Counsel Anupam Srivastava appeared for Delhi Government.

Advocate Sanjoy Ghose appeared for Delhi High Court along with Reetesh Singh, OSD(Examination), Delhi High Court.

Advocates Ankur Mahindro appeared for the Petitioner.

Read the Order:

Anand Vaid vs Preety Vaid vs Ors - June 16.pdf
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