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Supreme Court CJ 'ignored' Reliance Jio as better tech platform for virtual hearing

SCBA president Dushyant Dave, Supreme Court chief justice SA Bobde 
By Our Representative
Did Supreme Court chief justice SA Bobde ignore a suggestion to allow Reliance Jio as “better platform” for virtual hearings during the pandemic? It would seem so, if the controversial letter, authored by Dushyant Dave, president, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), to the apex court secretary-general protesting against what he calls “extraordinary urgency” in listing the special leave petition filed on behalf of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami is any guide.
Arguing against why Goswami, currently in judicial custody in Mumbai following a case filed against him on charges of abetment to suicide, should not be allowed an out of turn hearing, Dave in his letter, written on October 10 evening, says, Goswami’s case was listed on for October 11, even though the such matters are automated in a “computerised system”.
“Issue here is, why is this selective listing taking place when system is supposedly computerised and is to work automatically?”, he asks, wondering why, while Goswami’s issue was listed immediately, others’ matters are not listed “for weeks and months” although very urgent and involving serious issues are involved.
Suggesting that the computerised system needs to be further improved, Dave says, “Solution lies in improving the virtual hearing system in the Supreme Court” amidst Covid pandemic by “replacing video with better technical platform”, adding, “SCBA, after discussing with some of the leading players in the field, shortlisted one of the best in the world and forwarded the proposal to you as also to E-Committee and Computer Committee months and months ago.”
Indicating that this was ignored, the letter says, “We were told that it is under consideration”, adding, while the apex court administration floated tender for this, “Most High Courts are taking better platforms without any tender process to do better justice.” Defining the better platform, Dave insists, “Shockingly, the Hon’ble Chief Justice during hearing of a matter, upon being offered better platform by Reliance Jio, asked his client to contact registry. This was bolt from the blue and a shock.”
Accusing the Supreme Court administration for failing to “shift to a better platform for unknown reasons, making its functioning quite truncated and limited”, the letter says, “Fewer benches are in session daily and some of them don’t even sit during court hours due to unknown reasons, may be due to technological challenges.” Noting its impact, he adds, “Direct and debilitating effect is on the justice delivery and rights of the Citizens, at least Common Man.”

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