Indore (Madhya Pradesh): A 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising CJI Dr DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala on Tuesday sought the details of IT infrastructure and existing software available with the DRTs and the DRATs, in the backdrop of e-filings being made mandatory to the complete exclusion of the physical ones.
The direction came on a petition filed by the MP High Court Bar Association challenging a complete ban on physical filing and e-filings being made mandatory in DRTs and DRATs across the country by amending the DRT Filling Rules, 2020.
SC posed certain specific questions to the Centre on its readiness and preparedness of implementing e-filing as the only available option in full swing for both litigants as well as lawyers.
The High Court Bar Association has been represented through advocates Siddharth R Gupta and Mrigank Prabhakar, who argued that the amendment to the E-Filing Rules by the Government of India is arbitrary and violative of Articles 14, 19, 21 as also 38 and 39A of the Constitution of India.
The High Court Bar Association approached the Supreme Court through a petition challenging the validity and constitutionality of the DRT Filing Rules 2020, as amended on January 31.
“In the course of the hearing on Tuesday, when the Centre sought time, the bench led by CJI Chandrachud asked the Centre about the existing available IT infrastructure and setup in the DRTs and DRATs across the country.The Bench sought information and details on resolving the problems of compulsory e-filing being faced by those lawyers and litigants who have a hindered access to technology and technological resources and whether accessibility of justice will be ensured to them or not,” said Gupta.
“The court suggested the provision of E-SEWA KENDRAs as in the case of high courts and district courts, where lawyers and litigants can go and use technology for compulsory e-filings. The court also inquired the Centre about the quality and superiority of the software used for e-filing along with the availability of internet connection in bandwidth at the DRTs and DRATs to assess whether the transition from physical filing to e-filing is smooth or not,” he added.
The matter has now been posted on February 24 to enable the Centre to furnish the entire information and the time it seeks to take in creating the desired infrastructure before shifting to e-filing as a compulsory option.
The court was beseeched by the counsel for the petitioners to put in abeyance the amended rule of e-filing being a mandatory option till the complete infrastructure, IT setup, and software is sufficiently equipped to handle the entire load, as also the technological access to lawyers and litigants is ensured.
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