Nearly 50 lakh cases heard in courts through VC in 2020

49.67 lakh cases heard in HCs, district courts through video conferencing in 2020; SC heard 30,000 cases

An upgraded cloud-based VC infrastructure with robust security is being developed by the NIC

Representative image. Credit: iStock.

After the Covid lockdown started, the district courts across the country heard 35,93,831 cases while the High Courts took up 13,74,048 cases, totalling to 49.67 lakh cases till October 28, 2020 using video conferencing only.

The Supreme Court had nearly 30,000 hearings during the lockdown period.

As part of the “AtmaNirbhar App challenge” some Indian made video conferencing apps have also been shortlisted and undergoing tests for use as Video Conferencing platforms, the Law and Justice Ministry said.

To bring about uniformity and standardisation in the conduct of VC, an overarching order was passed by the top court on April 6, 2020, giving legal sanctity and validity to the court hearings done through video conferencing.

"Further, video conferencing rules were framed by a five-judge committee which was circulated to all the High Courts for adoption after local contextualisation. So far, the VC rules have been adopted by 12 HCs," it added.

An upgraded cloud-based VC infrastructure with latest features and robust security was also being developed by the NIC, the Ministry pointed out.

A sum of Rs 7,975.81 crore has been sanctioned since the inception of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for development of infrastructure facilities for judiciary of which Rs 4,531.50 crore since 2014-15 which is around 56.82% of the total release under the scheme, it said.

During the current financial year 2020-2021 a sum of Rs 754 crore has been allocated, of which a sum of Rs 243.56 crore has been sanctioned. In the financial year 2019-20, an amount of Rs 982 crores was released to the states.

Among other infrastructure developments, as per the information made available by the High Courts, there are 19,996 court halls available which has been significantly increased as compared to the 15,818 available court halls in 2014.

As far as the residential units were concerned, 17,752 were available against the current working strength of 19,366 judges and judicial officers. There were 10,211 Residential Units available in 2014. In addition, 2,836 court halls and 1,858 residential units are currently under construction.