High Court Should Resume Normal Physical Hearings As “Democratic Functioning” Is “Imperiled”: Senior Advocates

Six eminent senior Advocates of the Bombay High Court, being Iqbal Chagla, Janak Dwarkadas, Fedun E De Vitre, Navroz Seervai, Darius Khambata and M P Bharucha, are planning to meet Chief Justice, Dipankar Datta to request that physical hearings with regular court working days and timings be resumed.

Apparently, the request is motivated by the concern of the eminent counsel that “democratic functioning” has been “imperiled” by the present curtailed functioning of the Court.

This was reported by the Indian Express.

The legal fraternity is also concerned that the present system would lead to a huge backlog of cases.

The senior lawyers want the court to hold hearings with full strength with all available judges on all regular court working day and make arrangements for the travel of all relevant staff as public transport remains suspended.

Presently, the High Court is hearing only extremely urgent matters through video conference until further orders in view of the extended lockdown.

The court has also extended interim orders, which are in operation, passed by it, and subordinate courts in Maharashtra and Goa until June 15.

The IE also reported that some senior lawyers had earlier requested the learned Chief Justice for a “hybrid” system with a mix of both video conferencing and physical hearings for those who could not access the virtual court.

However, Video conferences, through which limited hearings take place now, are periodically disrupted due to connectivity issues. Hearings take place twice a week, IE said.

2 comments on “High Court Should Resume Normal Physical Hearings As “Democratic Functioning” Is “Imperiled”: Senior Advocates
  1. Subrata Sen says:

    As an advocate in the Bombay High Court and one who is techno-savvy, I would welcome if most of the physical hearings are replaced with hearings on video conferencing as that would enable speedy disposal of cases and without the hassle for lawyers and litigants to run to various courts wasting precious time and money.Just imagine if the Bar and the bench had promoted such virtual hearings(which are in no way faceless as claimed)if conducted over Skype and zoom, then today our respected senior advocates and colleagues would not feel that democracy is imperiled under even such a terrible crisis as hearings would have continued as usual over video conferencing. So, I feel, the current crisis is a big opportunity to take a different perspective to overcome the present hurdles and build a robust technology driven system which could easily cope up with any such similar situations in the future as we would then be well prepared.Also, in my opinion, any articulate lawyer can be equally effective in physical face to face hearings and also over virtual hearings.All that is needed is a change in mind-set and be innovative with changing times and circumstances. Thank you.

  2. vswami says:


    Quite a sensible move from the reputed members of the BAR in the larger interests of ‘justice’; has not been made a day too soon- better now rather than late or never !!!
    A Judge is reported to have said the other day : “In other (CIVIL) cases, the problem may not be as severe, but it may affect them nevertheless”.

    FONT < In TAX and Economic offences cases , in one's thinking, going by wisdom left to be gathered from past experience, the problem is most likely to be far more serious, than in criminal cases. In saying so ,- though me a retired professional since for long, for good, have in mind the host of mostly inconsistent decisions (of courts and tribunals , alike) being churned out day- in- day -out, despite taxpayers/ ARs and DRs having had the opportunity of a 'personal' hearing (face to face) – expected to be of far more effective , in comparison to the new found (novel !!!) idea of 'virtual ' hearing (faceless) .

    There is one more area of no less concern, of a personal nature, to both the members of the BAR and the BENCH. To be precise, one personally shudders to think of the unsavoury consequences, the similar idea of 'online education (cum learning) ' mooted and being gone ahead with in a big way. And, relates to the deleterious effect the extended virtual education entails / is potent with, impacting the 'QUALITY' of 'EDUCATION'; and, in turn, the larger societal welfare,already at its frighteningly bottom level ?!


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