High Court faces difficulty in hearing cases due to connectivity issues

Directs Home Secretary to appear before it through VC
High Court faces difficulty in hearing cases due to connectivity issues

J&K High Court has directed Home Secretary to appear before it through video conferencing  (VC) and inform it about impact of the restrictions on e-connectivity of the courts.

While hearing a plea on its own motion, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar asked Shaleen Kabra, J&K Home Secretary to appear before the Court through video conferencing and apprise about the impact of the restrictions on e-connectivity of the courts, in view of the extreme difficulty being faced by the court to carry with the proceedings.

Miffed over the difficulty in hearing the cases due to connectivity issues, the bench said that the Court was concerned with urgent issues involving rights of the residents of J&K and Ladakh.

"Despite best efforts on the part of our IT experts", the court said, "It was impossible to have even a bare semblance of hearing."

"We have struggled to have virtual/or audio connectivity with the amicus curiae and several counsels appearing before us. Even the learned Advocate General has expressed grave difficulty in joining the hearing," the bench said.

The Court observed that given the sharp rise in the COVID19 cases and in the face of lockdown, the virtual hearings have been necessitated.

"Access to justice is a fundamental right and can't be impeded. It has to be ensured to every citizen and courts are required to remain accessible."

The Court observed that by its order dated May 1, in a writ petition (civil) titled "Foundation for Media Professionals versus Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and another", the Supreme Court constituted a Committee at the highest level to undertake a review of connectivity restrictions imposed by the authorities.

The Court listed the plea for further consideration on July 16.

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