Madras High Court Bar members submit joint representation to Chief Justice over multiple difficulties in e-filing of cases

The Associations pointed to the restrictive file size permitted; the non-working of portals; the delays in clearing of e-files and the unnecessary rule to file hard copies after e-copies, and asked for amendments to the rules

Published - April 09, 2024 01:11 pm IST - CHENNAI

A view of the Madras High Court. File photograph

A view of the Madras High Court. File photograph

All four Bar associations at the Madras High Court have given a joint representation to Chief Justice Sanjay V. Gangapurwala listing out a number of difficulties faced by advocates practising in the High Court as well as trial courts, while filing cases through the electronic mode.

Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) president G. Mohanakrishnan, Madras Bar Association president M. Baskar, Law Association president P. Selvaraj, Women Lawyers Association president Louisal Ramesh and other office-bearers handed over the representation on Monday, April 9, 2024.

They primarily stated that the maximum file size of 20MB was not sufficient to upload case documents. The insistence on converting PDF documents to OCR was also causing great inconvenience, since it increased the file size by 1.5 times, and consequently exceeded the permitted file size, they said.

The associations said a temporary registration number should be assigned to every case immediately after e-filing without waiting for the examiner to approve of the filing. They also said the date of e-filing must be construed as the date of filing for all purposes and that the rules must be suitably amended for this.

Wondering why lawyers should be asked to file hard copies as well, after e-filing, the Bar members said that this defeated the purpose of e-filing and of saving the environment. They said it also led to an unnecessary dual process of scanning of the papers once by the advocates and once again by the Registry.

Most of the time, they pointed out, the servers or e-filing portals do not work, and the payment interface too does not work without glitches. The e-challan can be generated only once per case, and this makes it difficult for lawyers to pay deficits in court fees if any, they said, and asked for appropriate changes to the software.

Further, complaining about only two to three appeal examiners serving at the original side and commercial side, the Bar associations said the rate of clearing the e-filing of cases was very low, with just one case being processed in a day by one examiner though ideally, the rate of clearance should be at least 10 cases per day by an examiner.

“The scanning of case bundles in the writ section consumes a lot of time. It looks like the scanning section is understaffed and writs are not getting listed for admission immediately. It roughly takes about three to four days from the date of numbering to the date of listing. Advocates are unable to answer their clients,” the representation read.

It complained that even habeas corpus petitions take 15 days to get listed for admission and urged the e-committee to relax the norm of uploading video oaths for every document and instead insist on just one video oath for the entire case. Similarly, the OTP verification for each and every document should be dispensed with, the associations said.

They also sought remedial measures for ensuring that Internet connectivity was available in every nook and corner of the High Court buildings at all times and pointed out that there were connectivity issues in court hall numbers 37 to 40 and on the ground floor as well as the second floor of the building.

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