P&H HC Lawyers’ Plea Seeking Hybrid Hearings: SC Says HC May Consider On Administrative Side

P&H HC Lawyers’ Plea Seeking Hybrid Hearings: SC Says HC May Consider On Administrative Side

The Supreme Court on Monday granted petitioners the liberty to move to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to address the grievance on an administrative level in a plea challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision to completely ban access to hybrid hearings following the resumption of physical hearings.

A bench consisting of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala passed the directive.

CJI DY Chandrachud stated at the outset that the case should be heard by the Punjab and Haryana High Court rather than the Supreme Court.

“We will say liberty to move to the High Court on an administrative side,” CJI stated.

However, the petitioner’s counsel informed the Court that the High Court had been approached with the request but that no action had been taken.

“The High Court has done nothing so far. The High Court has not only instructed those cases be heard in person, but any request for a virtual hearing has also been denied,” she stated.

Taking into account the petitioner’s complaint, the bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud passed the order, “The petitioners’ complaint is that the High Court of Punjab and Haryana has completely prohibited access to hybrid hearings following the resumption of physical hearings on March 28, 2022. We are of the considered opinion that the petitioners’ grievances can be adequately addressed administratively by the Chief Justice of the High Courts of Punjab and Haryana, particularly in light of the investment of public funds made as part of the e-courts project.”

The Court allowed the petitioners to move a representation to the Chief Justice of the High Courts of Punjab and Haryana.

“Since public funds have been deployed for the establishment of ICT infrastructure under the e-courts project, the High Court may take an appropriate call in this regard,” the bench added.

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