Punjab and Haryana High Court yet to frame rules for virtual proceedings

Punjab and Haryana High Court yet to frame rules for virtual proceedings

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10

The Punjab and Haryana High Court shifted to virtual mode following Covid outbreak more than a year ago, but it is yet to notify the rules regarding hearing of cases through videoconferencing.

This is despite the fact that the guidelines for videoconferencing were issued by the HC prior to the outbreak of the pandemic in July 2018. The Supreme Court in October last year also made it clear that the “high courts that have not framed such rules shall do so, having regard to the circumstances prevailing in the state”.

The apex court, in its order, observed that videoconferencing in every high court and within the jurisdiction of every high court would be conducted in accordance with the rules for the purpose framed by that high court. The rules would govern videoconferencing in the high court and in the district courts and would cover appellate proceedings as well as trials.

“Till such rules are framed, the HCs may adopt the model videoconferencing rules provided by the e-Committee, Supreme Court , to all the Chief Justices of the HC,” it was added.

The issue pertaining to the rules for taking up cases through videoconferencing cropped up before the HC during the hearing of a matrimonial dispute after the wife’s prayer for cross-examination of a witness through physical mode was dismissed by a lower court. Her counsel averred that the impugned order dated February 3 was unjustified as petitioner-wife never gave consent for examination of respondent-husband through videoconferencing.

Justice Lisa Gill asserted: “Though guidelines for videoconferencing were issued, the rules have not yet been notified by this high court”. Justice Gill also noticed that the respondent was residing at Singapore and it was not possible for him to travel to India for his examination keeping in view the second surge in Covid cases.

Justice Gill directed that the respondent-husband’s examination be carried out by the trial court while adhering to the guidelines in 2018 as well as the Model Videoconferencing Rules circulated by the Supreme Court.

Video-conference room for Dist Court

Muktsar: Justice Alka Sarin of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday virtually inaugurated a video-conference room at the District Court complex here. District and Sessions Judge Arunvir Vashishta said it would help litigants during the pandemic


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