Expand scope of video conferencing: K'taka HC to govt

Provide video conferencing hearing facility to quasi-judicial bodies: Karnataka HC to govt

The court also directed the government to disclose if any of the quasi-judicial authorities have been given video conferencing facilities

Karnataka High Court. Credit: DH file photo

The High Court on Thursday directed the government to take a decision for providing a video conference hearing facility to all the quasi-judicial authorities in the state, mainly the authorities under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka gave this direction while hearing a PIL.

The government advocate submitted that compliance with the order of the court was delayed because the quasi-judicial proceedings by revenue authorities have not taken place for the past one year due to Covid-19.

The bench said it is high time that the government takes a decision for providing facilities of video conferencing hearing to all quasi-judicial authorities.

These authorities include tahsildars, assistant commissioners, regional commissioners and deputy commissioners.

The court said hearing through video conferencing should be commenced in a phased manner.

“Initially, the government can identify quasi-judicial authorities which are discharging very important functions. Priority can be given to such quasi-judicial authorities for providing video conference hearing facilities. All quasi-judicial authorities can have the facility in a phase-wise manner,” the court said.

The court said restoring important proceedings under the statute is important, bearing in mind the principles prescribed in the Disaster Management Act 2005, requiring all public authorities to be in the state of preparedness to deal with the situation of a possible third wave of Covid-19.

The bench has posted the matter to July 13, to enable the government to submit information on providing video conferencing hearing facilities.

The court also directed the government to disclose whether any of the quasi-judicial authorities have been provided with proper video conferencing facilities.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox