Allahabad High Court Warns Against Inaction on Video Conferencing Facilities in UP Courts

Allahabad High Court stresses on urgent implementation of video conferencing in UP courts, warns against judicial inaction.

The Allahabad High Court, in the case of Smt Anju Madhusoodanan Pillai vs State Of UP, emphasized the imperative utilization of video conference facilities in Uttar Pradesh courts. Justice Vikram D Chauhan, presiding over the matter, sternly warned against judicial lethargy, stressing that courts cannot afford to neglect the implementation of video conferencing infrastructure.

The Court's admonition came in response to reports of inadequate video conferencing facilities, particularly highlighted in a Ghaziabad Magistrate's courtroom. Justice Chauhan directed the High Court's Central Project Coordinator and the District Judge of Ghaziabad to furnish comprehensive reports on the availability and utilization of video conferencing infrastructure.

The Court's scrutiny extended to assessing the compliance with the Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts in the State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020. Expressing dissatisfaction with the apparent laxity, Justice Chauhan underscored that courts must not shirk their responsibility in effectively leveraging video conferencing capabilities.

"It is imperative that the courts diligently implement the Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts in the State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020. The failure to do so not only undermines the judicial process but also squanders public resources allocated for technological advancement," remarked the Court.

Furthermore, the Court directed the government counsel to liaise with the State law secretary to address concerns regarding the exclusion of prosecution witnesses, particularly those situated outside the district where the case is being heard. Emphasizing the need to minimize the inconvenience faced by government officials summoned as witnesses, the Court sought clarification on steps taken by the government to facilitate virtual testimonies.

"The State must ensure that the interests of justice are upheld while safeguarding the convenience of all parties involved. Prosecution witnesses should not be unduly burdened with travel obligations, especially when technology offers a viable alternative," asserted the Court.

The underlying issue emerged from a petition urging the trial court to adopt video conferencing for evidence proceedings in a criminal case. In response to the revelation of deficient infrastructure in the Ghaziabad court, the Court directed the trial judge to promptly address pending applications for online testimonies.

Advocate Vijit Saxena represented the petitioner, while Advocate Ramesh Kumar Pandey appeared on behalf of a respondent.