A PUBLIC interest litigation has been filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions that all the lower courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh be asked to comply with the order passed by the Supreme Court in April regarding holding of hearings through video conferencing.
The PIL filed by Advocate Ferry Sofat also seeks directions that the authorities be asked to send vakalatnamas or the power of attorneys of the undertrials and convicts, who are inside the jails, through email or WhatsApp to the family members or lawyers of the prisoners.
The case has been cleared for hearing after mentioning and is likely to be listed by the weekend. Stating that while the District and Sessions Courts are registering their matters after they file the petitions through email, the PIL alleges that many courts are not hearing the cases through video conferencing as the lawyers are being asked to appear in person. Advocate Ferry has argued that it can lead to spread of coronavirus.
“We have seen such instances in subordinate courts that due to personal appearance of accused, police officials or lawyers, some tested positive for Covid-19 and judges and court staff had to quarantine for a number of days,” the petition reads, while referring to incidents reported from Ludhiana and Amritsar.
The apex court in April had ordered that all district courts in each state will adopt the mode of video conferencing.
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