Author: mauryavchandra

DOES INDIA HAVE THE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE FOR E-COURTS? PART-I

for lawyers, as for the courts and the clients, the increase in videoconferencing for court purposes, the need for good upload speeds is also going to become critical… good internet will not be the only requirement. Good hardware and a good modem will be as critical in a consistent and smooth functioning of video-conferencing based courts. … The users must know about the “best fit” or should have easy access to technical advice at the time of purchasing equipment.

LET SOCIAL DISTANCING NOT BE A NEW NAME FOR UNTOUCHABILITY AND SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION

Recently, there have been news about discriminatory practices against suspected and cured COVID-19 Patients… quite famously, Actor-Singer Meiyang Chang has quite famously stated: “My name is Chang, and I am not Corona Virus”… The public narrative of the history of origin and spread of the disease in India has made certain communities very vulnerable to discrimination and even assault… India has promised itself a non-discriminatory society and abolished untouchability… the promise of Article 17 of the consitution must extend to all modern forms of “Untouchability” and a resolve to weed out all exclusionary practices from the society… There has to be a general recognition that, like in the case of HIV/ AIDS, discrimination against the COVID patients or persons involved in their care is going to be counterproductive and fan the spread of the epidemic to the general population… Explicit statements of non-discrimination from industry bodies and other collectives need to come through quickly. … Legislative measures also may need to be adopted. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 could be enlarged to cover COVID-19.

LAWYERS MUST BE READY TO DELIVER CONTACTLESS LEGAL SERVICES: BUILDING BLOCKS ALREADY EXIST

Lawyers have immersed themselves in simulation e-courts run by Atmabodh. One can easily ramp up to be able to argue in an E-court in 30 minutes. Judges have now had the experience of E-courts. All the processes required for complete e-court proceedings are in place. This includes e-filing, stamp reporting, cause list publication, display boards, hearings, case status, publishing judgments, etc. Atmabodh’s simulation sessions of E-court and it is now firmly established that with a single desktop a lawyer can very easily argue his case. Starter packs or shared facilities can be organised by Bar Councils. Today, with a near suspension of court proceedings, the time is ripe for onboarding lawyers to E-courts.

Domestic Violence In Lock-Down: Lawyers can make a difference by embracing E-courts

“Domestic abuse cases rise as COVID-19 lockdown turns into captivity for many women”… women and their children could find it even harder to access safety and specialist support. … At least some cases relating to domestic violence or matrimonial matters may be easy to be concluded by e-hearings…Atmabodh has started onboarding lawyers in its network to argue in simulated court proceedings… Law in action is an equalising factor in such situations… lawyers must also embrace technology and offer hope to the weaker and make a positive difference in the society under stressful and unprecedented time.

FOR HOW LONG Can we afford to keep grievances of people in deep freezer?

cops beating up labourers… promised food packets not reaching the needy… procurement of faulty diagnostic kits and thermometers… Can we afford to keep these grievances of people in deep freezer? … With a good part of the economy still running and being bound to run, justice cannot be pushed to the backstage… Not many seem to be visibly worried about the plight of the litigants, for whom they exist as a professional.

Delivering Contactless Legal Services: Let us make a start

I propose to follow a gradual and do-able path to the objective of contactless courts in India. … A beginning can be made by constituting a special contactless court roster of the Hon’ble Judges who are adept in paperless proceedings. The Registry can invite counsels who are interested in having their cases listed before the contactless benches and can handle arguments from their tablets to submit their requests for hearing. … Legal aid cases can be ear-marked for such hearing and a special panel of legal aid counsels and state counsels who opt for this mode of hearing can be prepared. … to start with, all jail appeals and second appeals where paper-books are ready and have been scanned for e-courts can be taken up.