Over 200 lawyers practicing before the family court at Bandra in Mumbai have addressed a representation to the E-Committees of the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court highlighting difficulties faced by them while filing petitions before the family court using the e-filing facility. .The family court at Bandra deals with cases arising from all over Mumbai including cases filed by high profile persons like actors and businessmen. Approximately 40-50 cases are filed in a day which is significantly higher than other family courts in the State..In their representation to the E-Committees, which were marked to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Chief Justice of High Court Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya, the lawyers including former Family Court Bar Association Secretaries Tara Hegde and Shraddha Dalvi set out the problems faced by lawyers during e-filing..Delay in getting the first date of hearing after e-filingThe letter pointed out that the e-filing process suffers from notable delays in comparison to the physical filing of pleadings. In e-filing, after a petition is filed, the department scrutinizes the pleadings to flag objections. Once objections are removed, the petition gets a number and it becomes ready to be listed for hearing by the judge.As per the representation, the initial scrutiny of pleadings starts only two to three months after a petition is filed. There is also a second round of scrutiny which further delays the listing of the case by a month or two, the letter stated. Ultimately, the first hearing date is allotted approximately five to six months after the filing of the petition. This causes considerable inconvenience and loss to litigants.“This protracted period adversely impacts litigants leading to instances where they opt to change legal representation due to undue delays. Such decisions driven by necessity impact not only our income but also tarnish our professional reputation,” the letter stated.Such delays are more exasperating for litigants seeking divorce by mutual consent, the lawyers stated..Visibility of daily proceedings and orders only for advocatesDue to privacy and confidentiality of parties, none of the case details in family court matters are shown on the website. The lawyers have requested that those details be made available exclusively to lawyers registered with the registry for e-filing of cases.“This selective visibility, accessible solely through the secured user ID and password of the lawyers, ensures that sensitive information remains confidential and is not disclosed on any public forum,” the letter highlighted.This would also reduce burden on the court staff who are otherwise approached for copies of daily proceedings, interim orders and case related documents, the lawyers said.The letter also proposed introducing a watermark of the court on orders and judgments which can be made available to the lawyers online. This would make it easier for lawyers to procure order copies and reduce the strain on court staff to make certified copies available..Template for pleadingsThe lawyers also batted for streamlining the process of filing which currently includes preparing a hard copy of the pleadings, scanning and uploading the same on a server through their registered account. In instances like divorce through mutual consent, the registry could release a template form which lawyers could then fill online. After this, lawyers will be required to upload only the consent terms which would extensively reduce paperwork, the letter suggested..Qualification of staff and internet speedA crucial consideration to have seamless e-filing system according to the lawyers is to recruit dedicated staff who are adept at handling technology and to have a robust, reliable internet speed connection.“A focused effort on training initiatives will not only empower our staff but also ensure the seamless integration of technology into our operational processes,” the lawyers said.