"Develop the habit of coming to court" was the suggestion given to lawyers on Tuesday by the Delhi High Court, while hearing a PIL. "Slowly develop the habit of coming to court. Give up the habit of attending hearings from sitting in your chairs..," a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said after some of the lawyers appearing in the PIL urged the court that the matter be heard via video conferencing only and not by the physical mode.
The suggestion by the bench assumes importance as data on hearings conducted since the lockdown indicates that in more than 96.2 per cent of the cases, the advocates have preferred to appear through the virtual mode. Even in those cases — 1,439 — which were listed for physical hearings, only 36 per cent of them were heard and in the rest requests were made by lawyers for conducting the proceedings via video conferencing mode, a note released by the office of Registrar General Manoj Jain on Tuesday said.
According to the data, from March 25 to October 17, the number of cases taken via virtual mode was 42,377 and from September 1, the number of cases heard in physical courts were 1,929. Of the 12,167 matters filed through e-filing, only in 2.8 per cent of the cases lawyers sought physical hearings of their pleas, it said.
In the district courts, around 2,62,167 cases were taken up through video-conferencing from March 24 to August 31, it said. The note also said that from September 1, when physical hearings commenced on a small scale, the roster has been prepared in such a manner that 1/4th to 1/5th of the district courts take up matters physically in every district.
"Earlier, the courts subordinate to this court were taking up only urgent matters but presently, non-urgent/routine matters are also being taken up by them either through video conferencing or through physical mode. Till date, more than 6 lakh cases have been taken up through video conferencing and around 1 lac through physical mode by Delhi District Courts and approximately 50,000 cases and 85,000 applications have been disposed of," the note said.