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The Delhi High Court has notified the Rules to consolidate, unify and streamline the procedure relating to the use of video conferencing in courts.
Called 'High Court of Delhi Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts 2020', these Rules shall come into effect from today, June 1.
The Rules govern all major aspects of the court's functioning, including service of summons, the examination of persons, exhibiting documents to witness or accused at a remote point, judicial remand, framing of charge, examination of accused and proceedings under Section 164 of the CrPC.
Some highlights of the Rules are as follows:
- Video conferencing facilities may be used at all stages of judicial proceedings and proceedings conducted by the Court.
- All relevant statutory provisions applicable to judicial proceedings including provisions of the CPC, CrPC, Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and Information Technology Act, 2000 shall apply to proceedings conducted by video conferencing.
- There shall be no unauthorised recording of the proceedings by any person or entity.
- Any party to the proceeding or witness, save and except where proceedings are initiated at the instance of the Court, may move a request for video conferencing.
- The presence of a "Coordinator" will not be necessary at the "Remote Point" where arguments are to be addressed by an advocate or party in person before the Court.
- On completion of the video conferencing proceeding, the Court shall mention in the order sheet the time and duration of the proceeding, the software used, the issue(s) addressed etc. The Court shall also record its satisfaction as to clarity, sound and connectivity for both "Court Users" and "Remote Users".
- On the completion of video conferencing, if a "Remote User" believes that she/he was prejudiced due to poor video and/or audio quality, he/she shall immediately inform the Coordinator at the Court Point, who shall, in turn, communicate this information to the Court without any delay. The Court shall consider the grievance and if it finds substance in the grievance may declare the hearing to be incomplete and the parties may be asked to re-connect or make a physical appearance in Court.
- In criminal cases, the expenses of the video conferencing facility shall be borne by such party as directed by the Court.
- In civil cases, generally, the party requesting for recording evidence through video conferencing shall bear the expenses.
- To observe the requirement of an open Court proceeding, members of the public will be allowed to view Court hearings conducted through video conferencing, except proceedings ordered for reasons recorded in writing to be conducted in-camera.
The Schedule to the Rules states that all participants shall wear sober attire consistent with the dignity of the proceedings and Advocates shall dress appropriately in professional attire prescribed under the Advocates Act, 1961.
It is added that "Remote Users" shall ensure that their devices are free from malware and are connecting with Court from a quiet location that has sufficient internet coverage.
Read the Rules and Notifications below: