Delhi HC Directs Govt to Prepare Funds Estimate for Hybrid Hearing Equipment Across District Courts

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The PIL, initially filed in 2021 by petitioner Anil Kumar Hajelay and others, sought directions to ensure adequate infrastructure for hybrid hearings in district courts and quasi-judicial bodies

The Delhi High Court has issued directives to the Public Works Department (PWD) of the Delhi government, ordering them to prepare an estimate of the funds required for the procurement of hybrid hearing equipment in district courts across Delhi.

The court instructed the PWD to submit the estimate within ten days.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora further directed the Finance Department of the Delhi government to make a decision within four weeks upon receiving the estimate from the PWD.

The court's decision came in response to a petition filed by a group of senior citizen lawyers advocating for the implementation of hybrid hearings in Delhi's district courts. The petitioners have long been pushing for the adoption of hybrid hearing systems to address infrastructural shortcomings in the court system.

Since 2021, the high court has been closely monitoring the progress of efforts to overcome these infrastructural challenges and facilitate hybrid hearings.

In a recent hearing on February 6, the court was informed by Advocate Amit George, representing the high court, that a consultant appointed by the PWD had provided a list of necessary equipment for each courtroom and judge's chamber. George emphasized that this equipment constitutes the minimum requirement for the successful implementation of hybrid hearing systems.

Upon questioning the PWD Chief Engineer regarding the timeline for providing the equipment to the district courts, it was revealed that the process would take around six months, including the preparation of an estimate and obtaining financial approval.

Consequently, the court directed the PWD to expedite the preparation of the estimate and forward it to the Finance Department for prompt decision-making.

The matter is scheduled for further hearing on April 2, 2024, with instructions for the Chief Engineer of the PWD to participate in the proceedings online.

Case Title: Anil Kumar Hajelay & Ors v. Hon'ble High Court of Delhi