The Delhi High Court on Monday, while hearing a petition seeking directions to install a fiber line for internet in Delhi courts for effective virtual hearing, asked the petitioners to make a representation before the departments concerned first.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan disposed of the plea with a direction that representation is made to the concerned authorities like the Building Maintenance Committee (BMC), High Court of Delhi, District Judge (HQ), and concerned service providers of the cellular network.
The bench, while appreciating the cause raised in the petition, said that firstly the issues raised in the petition should be decided on the administrative side and if they failed to do so, then the court would interfere in the matter.
The plea sought directions to the respondents to take necessary steps on an urgent basis to install the fiber cables in all court complexes inclusive of chamber premises situated in the Delhi courts.
The plea, filed by Satyanarain Sharma, a practicing advocate and is former Secretary of Rohini Court Bar Association (RCBA), said that due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic along with the nationwide lockdown the judicial administration dealt in its own way by deferring regular hearing of all cases and confining hearing only for urgent cases by video conferencing.
Nowadays the judicial system started hearing the cases through video conferencing (VC) in all courts of the country to administer the justice delivery system, the plea said.
It sought the indulgence of the court regarding the problem faced by judges, lawyers and litigants due to poor/lack of internet connectivity. The majority of lawyers are facing the problem of poor/non- availability of internet in the chamber blocks situated in court complexes, which has resulted in grave hardship to the practicing advocates, the plea said.
The petitioner said the present situation may continue for a long time and the normal functioning of the court will take time and submitted that when the court will start to function as usual, then also use of the internet will be required to solve the day to day needs of advocates who work from their chambers.
According to the plea, the digital divide has three dimensions namely, access divide (access to equipment and infrastructure), connectivity divide (access to broadband connectivity), and skill divide (knowledge and skills required to use digital platforms).
The plea said that in most countries the speed of the internet is being used as 5G speed and presently in India, only 4G speed is being provided by the cell operators.
"It is also worth mentioning here that the Union of India had taken steps towards the creation of digital India and the cell operator compes are not providing the adequate signals/internet facility everywhere to its customers inclusive of petitioners and other lawyers, who used to work from court complexes," the plea said.
( With inputs from ANI )
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