Due to the current pandemic situation, the Hon’ble courts took a vital and extraordinary step in organizing the proceedings of the cases through video conferencing. However, serious difficulties are being faced by the advocates due to the already existing network and connectivity issues in our country. Therefore, it is said that video conferencing is not a substitute for physical hearing.
Earlier this year, the Petitioner (General secretary of NITES Harpreet Saluja) along with Advocate Rajesh Inamdar moved to the Supreme Court in relation with March 20 Advisory of the Labour and Employment Ministry, to implement the orders on the private as well as public employers related to not laying off and terminate or cut the salaries of their employees due to the lockdown.
The court on May 8th, 2020, observed the problems faced by the employees due to the termination. The court also asked to remove Advocate Rajesh Imandar as the Petitioner. Further, on May 15th, 2020, the petition was dismissed by a special bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai because Inamdar was not removed as the Petitioner.
The plea further clarified that the list of the parties had been amended and that the advocate who was the Petitioner no. 1 was deleted after the order dated 08.05.2020. Due to the technical error and glitches the advocate of the Petitioner was not able to convey this information to the judges therefore the petition was dismissed.
Further, an application was filed in the Supreme Court in which it was mentioned that on 11th May the Petitioner no. 1 was removed and for which documents were uploaded on the e-filing portal of the Hon’ble court. An email regarding to this issue was also sent to the PIL Section of the registry and the name of the sole Petitioner was reflected on the website of the Hon’ble Court. On the date of hearing issues related to connection and technical errors were raised by the parties.
The plea states that the advocate on record tried to convey the true facts to the court officers yet it went in vain no action was taken.
The counsel of the Petitioner wrote an email to the Secretary General of the court and the Secretary of the Supreme Court advocates on record association but no such action was taken and that too went in vain.
The application further stated that video conferencing is an astonishing step taken by the courts yet it is not a substitute to the physical court hearing. And that many of the advocates are facing such issues due to technical errors, network problems and connectivity issues and to authenticate this the Petitioner has also attached the chat history with the application.