Chandigarh, October 3
In a groundbreaking move towards modernizing the judicial process, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has introduced hybrid hearings in five of its courts. This development marks a significant departure from traditional courtroom proceedings, allowing parties involved in litigation to attend and observe hearings remotely.
The initiative, spearheaded by chairperson of high court computer committee Justice Lisa Gill aims to enhance accessibility, efficiency, and adaptability in the legal system. The high court has provided dedicated links for each of the five courts, enabling litigants, lawyers, and other stakeholders to participate in proceedings from the comfort of their remote locations.
Available information suggests all the five courts are of the judges who are members of the high court’s computer community. The courts are of Justice Lisa Gill, Justice Anoop Chitkara, Justice Alka Sarin, Justice Suvir Sehgal and Justice Arun Monga.
The move comes as a response to the evolving landscape of technology and its potential to streamline legal processes. The high court's decision to embrace hybrid hearings aligns with global trends in the legal sector, where the integration of digital tools has become increasingly prevalent.
The Supreme Court has already expressed support for the introduction of hybrid hearings in lower courts. It emphasised the need for the courts to leverage technology for the efficient dispensation of justice. The apex court, in fact, believes that such innovations can contribute to reducing case backlog, improving access to justice, and accommodating the diverse needs of litigants.
The implementation of hybrid hearings is particularly significant in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which accelerated the adoption of remote work and virtual communication across various sectors. A senior high court officer said the legal community's embrace of technology reflects a broader trend of digital transformation within the judiciary.
He added the move towards hybrid hearings is laudable for its potential to increase efficiency and accessibility even as concerns have been raised regarding issues such as cyber security, privacy and digital divide. “As the legal landscape continues to evolve, the introduction of hybrid hearings in these five courts signals a transformative moment for the Indian judiciary, embracing innovation to uphold the principles of justice in the digital age,” he said.
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