justice

The Supreme Court, in a judgment dated 29 April 2022, rejected the petition filed by the lawyers' organisation All India Association of Jurists and others against the Uttarakhand High Court's decision to return to court hearings in physical presence, without a hybrid option.

The plaintiffs had applied for an urgent hearing on the grounds that virtual hearings during the pandemic would be a fundamental right of litigants, as requested by the NGO National Federation of Society for Fast Justice and other citizens. The Court, however, clarified that the concept of urgency must be measured against the contingent situation and that under the current conditions there is no urgency for the requested virtual hearing, due to the fact that the number of infections has decreased and the courts have resumed normal functioning, as well as to the fact that there are more urgent matters to be dealt with, such as persons in prison, precautionary applications, etc. The Court clarified that virtual hearings and the "hybrid" justice system was tested during the most serious period of the pandemic, but it proved to be problematic and not ideal to ensure a good functioning of justice for citizens, so it can be used only in situations of real need, while at present it seems a priority to ensure the presence of people in the courts.

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