Navi Mumbai: Belapur court becomes first in state to go digital

Navi Mumbai: Belapur court becomes first in state to go digital

Justice Gauri Godse, District Judge Abhay Mantri and other dignitaries were present for the inauguration of an additional sessions court and a civil judge court in the existing sessions court in Belapur.

Amit Srivastava Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Sunday, April 09, 2023, 07:59 AM IST
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Navi Mumbai: Belapur court becomes first in state to go digital | Representative Image

Navi Mumbai: The Belapur court in Navi Mumbai has become the first court in Maharashtra to go digital. This was announced by Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court in his congratulatory note during the inauguration of two other courts in Belapur on April 7. Justice Gauri Godse, District Judge Abhay Mantri and other dignitaries were present for the inauguration of an additional sessions court and a civil judge court in the existing sessions court in Belapur.

Prior to two new courts, citizens and advocates had to go to Thane for their cases, including those regarding murder, life sentences and claims over Rs5 lakh. The Bar Association persistently pursued the establishment of the new courts in Belapur as well. With this, the sessions court and the junior civil court cases will also be heard here.

Belapur Court initially functioned as a civil and criminal court

According to the Association of Belapur Court, the court premises was inaugurated in May 2017 and functioned as a civil and criminal court. The Bar Association followed up with the government and the HC for the approval, with the state government finally approving them in October last year.

Last August, Justice Patel’s court was the first to go digital while batting for “paperless environment”. While hearing a public interest litigation seeking protection of wetlands and forests, the judge said that he would accept documents and affidavits in “e-filing” format only.

As a step further, on an “experimental and temporary basis”, a notice was issued saying that his would be an exclusive e-court room from January 2 this year. The overall objective is to “reduce paper inflow (to ultimately eliminate it altogether)” and make the process of listing for all purposes more efficient, the notice read.

However, the bench had permitted submission of “convenience notes” in physical form. “Airdropping such notes is permitted,” the notice added.

HC started hearings through VC in the pandemic

Interestingly, Justice Patel’s court is the only court which has continued the hybrid mode of hearings wherein advocates and parties are allowed to either remain personally present for hearings or attend through video conference (VC) facility.

During the Covid-induced lockdowns, the HC had started hearings through VC. Later, with the easing of restrictions, the HC shifted to hybrid mode. Gradually, all courts, except Justice Patel’s court, stopped the VC facility until Chief Justice of India BY Chandrachud last week allowed VC facility again in the Supreme Court in the wake of increasing Covid cases.

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