HC: Hold quasi-judicial court hearings via video-conferencing - ECAS Punjab

HC: Hold quasi-judicial court hearings via video-conferencing

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab Financial Commissioner, Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, to ensure that matters before quasi-judicial courts of financial commissioners, special secretaries, joint development, commissioners and collectors are heard through video-conferencing, instead of physical hearing.

Avoid time wastage

  • In case a quasi-judicial authority is not in a position to take up hearing on a particular date, the fact will be intimated to the parties and their advocates well in advance to avoid inconvenience and wastage of their time.

Justice Sanjay Kumar made it clear that physical hearings would be conducted only when both sides gave their consent in writing. The order would remain in force "till the present situation continues".

The direction came on a petition filed against the State of Punjab and other respondents by Jai Bhagwan through counsel Manish Kumar Singla. The Bench, on a previous date of hearing, was informed that the Financial Commissioners were holding physical hearings, instead of resorting to video-conferences, and were not uploading the cause lists.

Subsequently, the Punjab Financial Commissioner, Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, vide order dated October 9, directed the quasi-judicial courts of financial commissioners, special secretaries, joint development commissioners, collectors, etc, to hold hearings only through video-conferencing and to upload their cause lists on the department's official website. Information to this effect was placed before the High Court during the matter's hearing.

Appearing before the Bench through video-conferencing, Singla, said the instructions were not being implemented in letter and spirit. "The Financial Commissioner, Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, shall, therefore, ensure full compliance with the directions and see to it that no physical hearings are taken up unless both sides indicate their consent thereto in writing," Justice Kumar asserted.

Justice Kumar added the Financial Commissioner would also ensure that the cause lists and orders were uploaded promptly to avoid inconvenience to the parties and their advocates.

The case will now come up on December 10.



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