Video conferencing emerged as the mainstay of the Courts during the Covid lockdown period as physical hearings and normal court proceedings in the congregational mode were not possible. Since Covid lockdown started, The District & Subordinate courts heard 2,01,57,517 cases while the High Courts heard 78,82,514 cases (totalling 2.8 cr) till 31.07.2023 using video conferencing.
The Supreme Court heard 4,82,941 hearings till 31.05.2023 since the beginning of lockdown period. To bring about uniformity and standardization in the conduct of VC, an overarching order was passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 6th April 2020 which gave legal sanctity and validity to the court hearings done through VC. Further, VC rules were framed by a 5-judge committee which was circulated to all the High Courts for adoption after local contextualization. A total of 27 High Courts have implemented Video Conferencing rules. Additionally, under the jurisdiction of 28 High Courts, 27 District Courts have adopted the Video Conferencing rules as on 31.07.2023. As part of the “Atma Nirbhar App Challenge” Indian made Video Conferencing App, Bharat VC, has been shortlisted and is under trial for use as uniform Video Conferencing platform. One video conference equipment each has been provided to all Court Complexes including taluk level courts and additionally funds have been sanctioned for additional VC equipment for 14,443 court rooms. Funds for setting up 2506 VC Cabins have been made available. Additional 1500 VC Licenses have been acquired. VC facilities are already enabled between 3240 court complexes and corresponding 1272 jails. A sum of Rs. 7.60 crore has been released for procurement of 1732 Document Visualizers.
The Uttarakhand High Court has started mobile e-courts van equipped with Wi-Fi and computers for video conferencing for speedy disposal of cases in remote hill areas of the state which do not have easy access to courts. A similar initiative was made functional by High Court of Telangana as well.