Supreme Court - file photo
Supreme Court - file photo
Photo: ANI

Agencies / New Delhi

The Supreme Court has said the traditional open court system and new-age virtual court system is not antithetical to each other, especially during the Covid pandemic, as the latter does not crumble administration of justice.

In a statement defending its current practice of taking matters through video conferencing, the apex court sa­id the traditional open court system, in its physical manifestation, and new-age virtual court system are not antithetical to each other. “On the contrary, both systems could definitely coexist, deli­v­ering qualitative justice, wh­e­rever deployed in light of ex­tant circumstances,” said it.

The SC insisted the institutional requirement has to en­sure administration of ju­s­tice does not crumble in the face of this unprecedented scenario. Lately, the video conferencing for taking up cases has come under criticism as it does not adhe­re to the concept of open courts.

The court is taking up extremely urgent matters virt­ually. The SC, backing its performance during the lockdo­wn, said it conducted hearings on 22 days till May 1, and 116 benches assembled, whi­ch included 73 ben­ches for adjudicating review petition. 538 matters were taken up, besides 297 connected matters, said the top court.

Lawyers complained on several issues — convincing the judge of the urgency in the matter and arguing their case through video link. “In view of the circumstances under the current pandemic, the Virtual Courts system cannot be said to be negating the principles of fairness that are sacrosanct to the administration of justice nor is it failing to adhere to requirements of an 'Open Court' system,” said the top court in its 38-page statement.

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