It is becoming common to hear cases through video-conferencing

Between Madras High Court in Chennai and its Bench in Madurai

Published - March 18, 2017 09:20 am IST - MADURAI

A case being heard through video-conferencing at Madras High Court Bench in Madurai.

A case being heard through video-conferencing at Madras High Court Bench in Madurai.

Hearing cases through video-conferencing between the principal seat of the Madras High Court in Chennai and its Bench here is slowly becoming common.

On Friday, the court utilised the facility even for hearing a case listed under, ‘For being mentioned’, urging the court to clarify an order already passed in the case.

Justice S. Vaidyanathan, who had passed the order during his three-month tenure in the Bench here between December 6 and March 3, heard the case from Chennai and clarified his order after hearing petitioner’s counsel R. Pandimaharaja and Special Government Pleader A.K. Baskarapandian through the video-conferencing facility established in an air-conditioned meeting hall here.

“Mr. Rahman, I shall dictate the clarification to my P.A. here so that the order can be signed here and sent to Madurai,” the judge told his personal assistant in Madurai, and directed the Registry to issue a certified copy of the clarification within a week to the petitioner G. Antonysamy, a suspended government employee, who had filed a case seeking enhanced subsistence allowance.

The case

According to the writ petitioner, he was suspended from the post of Draughtsman in the office of the Assistant Director of Survey and Land Records in Madurai Collectorate on February 9, 2015. The suspension order was passed following a criminal case registered against him by the local police under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988.

Subsequently, he was sanctioned 50% of his last drawn salary as subsistence allowance from the date of his suspension. However, his suspension was not revoked even after six months and so he prayed for enhancing the subsistence allowance to 75% of his salary. His plea was not considered by the Assistant Director and hence he filed a writ petition in the High Court Bench here.

Disposing of the case on February 13, Mr. Justice Vaidyanathan held that the petitioner was entitled to enhanced subsistence allowance along with arrears from the due date.

However, in the subsequent sentence of the order, the judge stated that the allowance should be paid from February 2017 till the suspension was revoked. or the petitioner was found guilty in the departmental enquiry.

In view of the ambiguity in the subsequent sentence of the order, the Assistant Director reportedly refused to pay arrears to the petitioner by stating that the court had ordered payment of enhanced allowance only from February 2017. The issue was taken to the notice of Registrar (Judicial) G. Ilangovan who, in turn, arranged for getting the order clarified through video-conferencing.

The judge on Friday made it clear that the petitioner should be paid arrears of enhanced allowance from the date on which it fell due on completion of six months of suspension.

High Court officials here said that many other cases would be heard through video-conferencing shortly.

Justice M. Sathyanarayanan from Chennai and Justice J. Nisha Banu from Madurai were slated to constitute a Division Bench to hear a review application filed against an order passed by them in an appeal suit during their joint sitting here last year over video-conferencing.

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