All courts in India need to have a hybrid system for hearing cases: Supreme court

All courts in India need to have a hybrid system for hearing cases: Supreme court

On February 2, a Supreme Court division bench led by Justices SK Kaul and Abhay Shreeniwas Oka stated in writing that all courts in the nation must have a hybrid system in place for conducting hearings.

Senior Advocate P Wilson stated that regional Supreme Court benches are essential for the welfare of plaintiffs.

The bench replied that “With the technology that has developed now, this has lost significance. People regularly are appearing before us, virtually from all over the country. The only important thing is that every court must be mandated to work with a hybrid system. Whoever wants to appear can do so”.

Currently, the Supreme Court and a few High Courts across the nation operate in a hybrid format, giving counsel and clients the choice of appearing in person or remotely.

According to senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, the Bombay and Gujarat High Courts no longer have this capability. 

An appeal regarding the recount of votes in the 2016 election for the Radhapuram Assembly Constituency was being considered by the bench. A former MLA named Inbadurai made the plea motion. We have better matters to hear today, the Court said as it continued the case and deferred it.

Highlighting the importance of a hybrid system, Justice Kaul said that it is a “great facility”.

“The hybrid system (of hearing) is a great facility. Matters from all over the country come here. It is an expensive affair for someone coming from the east or south. That is why they said regional benches (of the Supreme Court to be established). Next result is that, notices are issued in 20-25% of the cases. The first chance you can at least take (virtually). If something happens, they can come here. This virtual system...all forums must strengthen the system. It should not be that somebody likes it. Somebody doesn't like it”

In fact, NCLT, NCLATs are actually working this way, the advocates pointed out.

"We were all skeptical in the beginning about lawyers sitting and arguing cases from their offices. But now we have learnt", the Bench observed.

The Court was advised that parties are being made to allow them to appear virtually in transfer cases, unless their presence was absolutely required.

The Bench felt free to remark that most people adhere to the predetermined time range in other nations.

People follow the time restriction in international arbitration tribunals. The senior advocate explained that this is only a question of habit.

“Anyway, you (advocates) have to argue less, we (judges) have to write shorter, the Bench said while parting with the matter.

The Bench noted during the discussion that members of the nation's tribunals should be specialists in their respective disciplines.

Case Title: I.S. Inbadurai vs Appavu 
Citation: CA No. 1055/2022

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