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Madras High Court Adds Video Conferencing

February 27, 2017

The Madras High Court in Chennai, India announced earlier this month that it will be the latest Indian court to incorporate video conferencing into its trial process. The technology will mainly be leveraged as a part of the appeals process, something that, in the past, had been very costly and time consuming due to the procedural rules surrounding it.

According to the rules laid out by the High Court, any appeal of a judges’ writ can only be argued in front of the same judge who ordered it. Unfortunately, the judges of the High Court rotate, with a different one presiding every three months. This means that, if someone were to file an appeal but was unable to appear in court during their judges’ assigned three month window, their hearing could be delayed for a long period of time.

Sanjay Kishan Kaul, the Chief Justice of the High Court, recognized the issues that the procedural rules necessitated, and thus ordered that the court begin implementing a video conferencing system to help remedy it. Now, there is a designated room within the Chennai courtroom that houses secure video conferencing between judges, people making appeals, and their lawyers. Arguments can be advanced and evidence can be presented, just as it would in a standard courtroom. With this technology in place, applicants for appeals who are restricted from traveling by time, money or other factors will not have to worry about missing the three month window with their judge. This has the obvious benefit of allowing judges to hear more cases with greater efficiency, allowing the legal process to speed up.

As of now, the use of this technology is restricted to simple appeals. However, sources within the high court have said that, if this experiment with the technology is successful, the practice could be expanded to encompass other minor court proceedings, such as trials for contempt of court. The High Court in Chennai is the latest to recognize the possibility that video conferencing has to cut costs and lessen the duration of legal proceedings. It seems that more and more municipal courts are gravitating towards the use of this technology.

Edited by Alicia Young