Pleas filed at Dharwad and Gulbarga heard through video conference

The Karnataka High Court has opened its doors to ‘virtual courts’ in a bid to help the litigants reduce the waiting period for taking up certain types of cases for hearing at its two permanent benches at Dharwad and Gulbarga.

The judges sitting at the Principal Bench at Bangalore have now started hearing review petitions filed at Dharwad and Gulbarga benches through video conference using the facilities of the Karnataka State Wide Area Network. Advocates representing litigants argue the case via video conference at Dharwad and Gulbarga.

Review pleas are those where litigants seek a review of judgments and they will have to be heard by the same judge who passed the judgment.

There were delays in hearing them at Dharwad and Gulbarga benches due to rotation of judges between three benches and litigants had to wait for the turn of the particular judge at that location for hearing their pleas.

A dispute between B.Y. Jumnal and Pramod Reddy Patil, two Chief Engineers of Krishna Jala Bhagya Nigam Ltd, over posting, pertaining to Gulbarga bench, was one of the two cases adjudicated through the ‘virtual court’ process this week.

The High Court’s committee on computerisation, consisting of judges Ram Mohan Reddy, A.N. Venugopala Gowda and A.S. Bopanna, has decided to set up two venues for compact ‘virtual courts’ within the court premises in Bangalore for frequent use.

The High Court, since establishment of benches at Dharwad and Gulbaga, has been using video conference frequently in its day-to-day administration, including for full-court meetings, and now it is being extended for holding ‘virtual courts’, too, said an official of the High Court.

Senior advocate K.M. Nataraj, who is one of the advocates who participated in the ‘virtual court’ proceedings, hailed the introduction of technology-driven system for early hearing of certain categories of cases.

He, however, said that the audio facility needed to be upgraded while pointing out that the arrangements should be conducive for lawyers to effectively put forward their arguments. Even the video quality should be of high standard as the lawyers also plan their arguments depending upon the “body language” of their opponents, Mr. Nataraj said, adding that it would take some time for the lawyers to adjust to the new system.

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