Marriages being fixed over Skype might have become a common phenomenon, but in a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Madras High Court Bench here on Saturday conducted hearing in a marriage case through the video chat software and paved way for performance of the ceremony at Adaikala Matha Church in Odaickal village in Ramanathapuram district on Sunday.
According to officials in the High Court Registry, the innovative idea of using Skype came from Justice V. Ramasubramanian, the administrative judge of the High Court Bench, since none of the judges were in station, due to a week-long Deepavali vacation for the court, to hear a writ petition moved at the eleventh hour seeking police protection for the marriage in view of threat from some quarters.
When an Assistant Registrar contacted the judge over phone to inform about the writ petition having been filed with a plea for an urgent hearing, he directed the Registry to tap technology and requested the portfolio judge Justice S. Vaidyanathan to hear arguments, advanced by the lawyers here, from his residence in Chennai and pass orders after receiving necessary documents through e-mail.
“We scanned all the case documents and mailed them to Mr. Justice Vaidyanathan who perused them in Chennai before hearing the petitioner’s lawyer V. Panneerselvam as well as Government Advocate S. Chandrasekar on Skype. He then mailed his order granting police protection to us and we issued a certified order copy to the petitioner by 8 p.m,” a court official beaming with pride said.
All praise for the High Court for having come forward to adopt innovation than sticking to tradition, Mr. Pannerselvam said. “I had to file the case at the last minute due to a goof up by the local police. But this turned out to be the first case to be filed and heard electronically in the 153-year-old history of the Madras High Court. It is a wonder that even the order copy was issued in no time.”