SC for use of satellite for virtual courts' network

SC supports use of dedicated satellite for better network for virtual courts

The court, however, added, "But we will be okay if we get access to the optical fiber network."

The Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. Credit: Reuters File Photo

The Supreme Court on Monday mulled over use of a dedicated satellite for better network and connectivity for functioning of virtual courts but expressed its willingness to manage for now with optical fibre network.

"We were thinking of asking the government to give us a satellite for better network and connectivity for virtual courts. Satellites are not that costly now. You also have many satellites in sky. We could use one," a bench presided over by Chief Justice S A Bobde said.

The court, however, added, "But we will be okay if we get access to the optical fiber network."

The court said it needs access to optical fibre network for better video conferencing for courts across the country.

Senior advocate Harish Salve pointed out Jio has the best optical fibre network.

The court asked him to make a formal suggestion in writing with the e-committee.

Senior advocate and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association, Vikas Singh suggested measures for use of better technology for conducting hearings in the courts.

Attorney General K K Venugopal  said, "live-streaming of proceedings should be something on the court's mind."

Singh pointed out there was a judgment for live-streaming

"There are problems which should not be discussed publicly.There are certain abuses of it. We will take a decision soon enough, otherwise successive Chief Justices will do," the bench said.

In view of Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court had on April 6 authorised all the courts to adopt measures required to ensure  robust functioning of the judicial system through the use of video conferencing technologies.

The court had then registered a Suo Motu case 'In Re Guidelines for court functioning through video conferencing during Covid-19 pandemic".

"Faced with the unprecedented and extraordinary outbreak of a pandemic, it is necessary that courts at all levels respond to the call of social distancing and ensure that court premises do not contribute to the spread of virus. This is not a matter of discretion but of duty," the bench had then said.