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SCAORA writes to Supreme Court Secretary-General to implement recommendations made by lawyers on working of Virtual Courts and more

Shruti Mahajan

The SCAORA has made a representation to the Secretary-General (S-G) of the Supreme Court seeking implementation of the recommendations made by the Advocates on Record and other Advocates at the Bar regarding various aspects including helplines, e-filing and others.

In the letter signed by the Secretary of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA), Joseph Aristotle, the SCAORA has enumerated a number of recommendations made by the AoRs, as well as other Advocates of the Bar.

These touch upon issues concerning virtual courts and hearings, e-filing, the setting up of helpline for Advocates, as well as the Registry.

The representation urges the S-G to take expeditious action on these recommendations for the benefit of the smooth functioning of the system.

On Helpline

The SCAORA has urged the S-G to set up a separate and dedicated helpline for the Advocates for addressing their issues regarding refilings, listing, and other such processes which are not covered by any of the prior circulars issued by the Apex Court.

A helpline phone number and an email ID of a competent authority for grievance redressal are also requested for. This helpline may be availed in cases of non-response from existing contact points for mentioning, technical support and other issues left out of prior circulars.

On Registry

On issues touching upon the registry's functioning, a time limit is sought for not only listing of urgent matters from the date of mentioning, but also for marking defects and listing after curing of these defects.

An organized mechanism for the circulation of letters is also requested for with a provision of marking a copy of the letter to be circulated to the Judges. Additionally, a system for acknowledgement, with proof of receipt of such letters circulated, is sought in these recommendations.

The letter to the S-G further seeks a mechanism for lawyers to apply for certified copies online, apply for deletion of matters from proposed list, and for timely updation of names in cause lists as regards caveats etc.

The letter adds that negligible defects must not be raised by the registry and that it should also not insist on the filing of limitation report on green paper or for refiling of matters filed before March 31 on A4 size paper.

On E-filing

A consolidates 9-point set of recommendations made as regards e-filing process as enumerated in SCAORA's letter are:

  1. To ensure that a diary number is provided promptly on Efiling.

  2. Every document filed vide e-ftling has to be acknowledged vide a specific reference number.

  3. Every I. A. filed has to be numbered, within a specified period.

  4. Organised mechanism for filing of process, as presently the charges for process are not being calculated in accordance to the cause title of the matter.

  5. A separate receipt for court fees to be generated immediately upon every payment made vide e-filing.

  6. To permit RuPay Card and UPI mode of payment for court fee and other related payments.

  7. To provide a separate window for refiling on the dash board of efiling.

  8. Annexure may be permitted to be scanned and filed and typed copies to be insisted only when the scanned copies are illegible.

  9. To ensure that all documents filed vide e filings are placed timely in the paper books of the Hon'ble Judges., and publish office reports accordingly.

On Virtual Court

In the face of the problems faced by the Advocates and AoRs on account of limited number of links for Video Conference hearings, which stands at two as of now, the letter has pressed for increasing the number of access links. It further requests,

"To ensure that the VC is not locked for the access of AORs who have matter in a particular VC, till the end of the board as the concerned AORs who are disconnected due to technical glitches are not able to join back the VC."
SCAORA's letter

Stating that appearances are not recorded properly as of now, it is requested that the appearances as emailed should be recorded in full. Proper access for the AORs qua audio and video in Video Conferencing is also a concern sought to be highlighted.

It is requested that the Video Conference link is not disconnected before the order is pronounced by the Court and before the next matter is called out to be taken up.

The letter also adds that, "the helpline number 1881 should be exclusively dedicated only for technical glitches as 1881 is the dedicated helpline constituted as per Para 6 (iv) of the Order dated 06.04.2020 in Suo Motto W.P (C) 5/2020 - In Re- Guidelines for court functioning through video conferencing during covid 19."

The restoration of the prior practice where an oral mentioning could be made before the presiding Judge over the telephone on their landline numbers should also be considered, the letter adds.

The SCAORA has requested the S-G to take remedial steps to address these grievances raised by the Bar members and act on it to help the lawyers appearing before the Court.

Read SCAORA's letter to S-G:

SCAORA Representation 29.05.2020.pdf
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