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‘Advocates & Clerks Being Forced To Move Out Homes During Covid-19’: Advocates Write To Allahabad High Court Highlighting Issues With E-Filing, Mentioning, Etc.

first_imgNews Updates’Advocates & Clerks Being Forced To Move Out Homes During Covid-19′: Advocates Write To Allahabad High Court Highlighting Issues With E-Filing, Mentioning, Etc. LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK17 May 2021 4:41 AMShare This – xMore than 50 Advocates have moved a representation before the Allahabad High Court, seeking an overhaul in the current system of e-filing, online mentioning, listing, etc. The letter states that the current system is unnecessarily forcing the Advocates and their Clerks, to move out of the safety of their homes during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and consequent state-imposed lockdown, thereby causing insurmountable trauma and agony to them, as well as their families. It puts forth several suggestions and remedial measures to be considered for implementation at the administrative side, and prays that the representation be treated as a PIL/ intervention in the High Court’s suo moto case on issues related to Covid-19. Problems with e-Filing It is stated that the files of the cases have to be physically printed first and prepared physically by serving the hard copies thereof on the State or Government/Local Bodies. Owing to the same, Advocates have to run hither and thither, and travel long distances to find shops that would provide the said services – daring the virus all throughout. Problems with e-Notice It is stated that the Government and Local Bodies show pertinacious resistance to e-notices and hence, service of files has to be made physically. Problems with Urgent mentioning It is stated that the current ‘Urgent Mentioning’ system (via email) is completely crippling, ineffectual and humbug inasmuch as despite sending e-mails regarding urgency of the matters to be promptly taken note of, hardly any action is taken “There is no accountability as to the same and no specified framework for the prompt processing, listing and hearing thereof,” the letter states. Furthermore, it is stated, the files do not get reported for weeks, even for extremely urgent cases, such as Habeas Corpus, Bail, Arrest Stay, etc., and in case they are, the files are withheld owing to minor and inconsequential defects as notified by the Registry. To overcome these shortcomings, the letter sets forth the following suggestions: “(i) Filing of Softcopies: Softcopies of the writ petitions, appeals, applications, etc., must be allowed to be directly uploaded and filed on the e-filing portal; (ii) E-Notice via Email: State, Union and Local Bodies should be directed to mandatorily accept e-notices via email, as regards the filing of cases, to promptly share acknowledgment of receipt and the Notice Number and in no circumstance to insist upon service of physical copies; (iii) Prompt Listing of Cases with Defects: The cases must be processed for listing in Court and should not be withheld owing to any defects (which may well be cured later on); (iv) Hearings via Virtual Open Court: There should be a single VC link for the entire Causelist(s) for all the Advocates/Parties-inperson to join, to be published along with the Causelist itself or published on the website everyday, so as to bring the Virtual Hearings in conformity with the principle of ‘Open Justice’ and ‘Open Courts’ – on the lines of hearings being conducted in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court, Bombay High Court, Madras High Court, Kerala High Court, NCLT, NCLAT, etc.; (v) Urgent Mentioning via VC: By having a single VC link for the entire causelist(s), the Advocates/Parties-in-person shall be enabled to appear and make urgent mentions directly before the Hon’ble Court, akin to the practice in physical Court; Alternatively, a separate VC link for urgent mentioning should be put in place, which may be shared on the email itself or on the Hon’ble Court’s website; (vi) Streamlining of Urgency/Listing Applications: The process of filing Urgency and Listing applications must be streamlined and the Registry be directed to deal with the same with highest concern, regard and vigilance, as the same could be a matter of life and death for the litigants; (vii) Strengthening the Help Desk Service: The persons sitting at the Help Desk must be directed to provide proper ‘help’ and information as to the status of the files, urgent mentions, urgency/listing applications, etc., and listing and hearing thereof in the Court; (viii) Accountability in Administrative Functioning: A framework or flowchart of the functioning of the Registry in dealing with and processing of the filed matters, including urgent mentions, urgency/listing applications, etc., should be published on the website of this Hon’ble Court to augment and bolster accountability and public faith in the administrative functioning of this Hon’ble Court, and further to allay the anxiety and consternation of the Advocates; (ix) Switching over to a better VC Software: The software Jisti Meet currently is usage in this Hon’ble Court, which is extremely cumbersome and unhandy to use, must be junked in favour of better alternatives available, such as Cisco Webex (used in most of the High Courts in India, including, Rajasthan High Court, Delhi High Court, Bombay High Court, etc.) or Zoom, or Vidyo Connect, or such other App/software as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper; (x) Option for Court fees payment on the HC’s website: The website for payment of Court fees should be junked as the same does not work. Even the new website does not allow a person to create ID, as for activation purposes the old site needs to open which is already defunct. In place of the same, an internal option for payment of Court fees should be provided in the website of this Hon’ble Court itself, which may be put as one of the steps of e-filing – on the lines of the e-filing and Court fees payment mechanism of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India; (xi) Suspension of Bookmarking, Hyperlinking, etc.: The bookmarking, hyperlinking, etc., of the softcopies should be suspended and extra Court fees must be charged, to the tune of about Rs. 3/- per page, so that the files may be printed out by the Registry officials and placed before this Hon’ble Court to facilitate a more convenient and smooth hearing of the cases – on the lines of the practice in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.” Click Here To Download Letter Read LetterTagsAllahabad High Court E-filing E-notice Urgent mentioning COVID-19 Arbitrary Listing of Cases Next Storylast_img read more