Delhi HC Makes Hybrid Hearings Mandatory in all District Courts in National Capital

Team SoOLEGAL 7 Jun 2023 4:35pm

Delhi HC Makes Hybrid Hearings Mandatory in all District Courts in National Capital

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court issued an office order on Monday directing district courts in the national capital to allow hybrid hearings of cases.

This means that litigants and counsel can appear in court via video conferencing or in person without prior notice.

Until now, counsel/parties could only appear in court by physically being present.

They had to make a formal request in writing or via email at least a day before the proceedings to appear via video conference.

The hearings shall be conducted in hybrid/video-conferencing mode in conformity with the High Court of Delhi Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts, 2021 and also bearing in mind the provisions of the Live Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings Rules of the High Court of Delhi, 2022,” the office order issued by the High Court said.

According to a Delhi High Court official, these amendments mean that there is no geographical barrier to appearing in court as counsel or parties can join the proceedings from anywhere in the world.

The office order also stated that while conducting hearings in hybrid mode, the judicial officer must ensure that no one other than the parties and counsel in that case digitally accesses or joins the proceedings in certain categories of cases, such as matrimonial disputes, sexual assault cases, gender-based violence against women, and disputes involving the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCS) Act of 2012 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 etc.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 proceedings, in camera proceedings, recording or evidence, including cross examination, would not be open to the public.

In cases where the court believes that publication would be "antithetical to the administration of justice" or in cases that "may provoke enmity among communities or which is likely to result in breach of law and order," parties unrelated to the case will also not be permitted to participate in the proceedings.

However, in these situations, the relevant court would need to document in writing the justifications for now allowing third parties to join.

The office order stated, "further, in a given case, the Court may for reasons to be recorded in writing, direct the parties and/or their Counsel to appear physically where in the opinion of the Court the physical presence of the parties/counsel in the court is required or where the Court is otherwise of the opinion that the matter should be heard physically in the court.”

Tagged: Delhi High Court  
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