BEGINNING OF VIRTUAL COURTS ON WHEELS IN INDIA

In view of the #COVID-19 Pandemic, the Indian Judicial System has changed its way to hear cases through #VideoConferencing. During this time, the Courts have experienced a spike in the number of cases. Subsequently, the system has become more robust, #artificialintelligence has become more proficient, and #justice has become more accessible to the poorest and those living in remote areas.

In this regard, recently, the Principal District Judge of Adilabad, MG Priyadarshini, on Friday launched Virtual Court Connecting Mobile Van [#Mobile Van(s)]. The High Court of Telangana initially inaugurated a “Mobile Video Conference Facility” in order to help the lawyers and litigants, who have been facing trouble in participating in Virtual Court hearings due to the non-availability of computer system or internet, to attend court hearings through this Mobile Van.

The idea is in itself an innovative effort of creative minds in technology sector to curb the problems of litigants and lawyers with respect to the technology. It is in addition to the virtual control room, established in courts complex, which is being used by advocates and the general public for attending Virtual Court hearings. This has made the accessibility easier for the lawyers and litigants to access the legal help from any area.

The idea of mobile van is to go to the remote places in the State, so that advocates residing in that vicinity can make use of the Mobile Video Conference Facility and address the Virtual Court.

Such an effort is commendable amidst the crisis; more such initiatives should be taken by various other courts so that the essence of justice does not dissolve amidst the Pandemic. The Supreme Court should also formulate guidelines for encouraging and regulating such Mobile Vans. Moreover, such an initiative would also act as a stepping stone towards the digital world, where virtual courts would be omnipresent, thereby reducing the crowd from the court premises.

Time has demanded a creative platform for ‘Access to Justice’ and this has been made possible through the implementation of virtual courts. Now, access to justice at the doorstep is the need of the present hour, where justice is being delayed and only urgent matters are being taken up by courts. These Mobile Vans would not only help in ensuring timely justice and accessibility but would also help in increasing the number of cases that could be dealt within a day without diluting the essence of the term “justice”. Therefore, such efforts taken by the Principal District Judge of Adilabad, should be adopted by other courts as soon as possible.

These efforts would bring other benefits such as enhancement of efficiencies in proceedings, less stress on physical infrastructure, lesser crowd in court rooms, lesser waiting time in court corridors, more productive use of time and money, lesser cars on the road, and improved work-life balance. And then, there is the hope for a healthier environment, perhaps the only silver lining in this time of Pandemic.

Lakshmi Vishwakarma

Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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