In legal circles, there is a growing debate about the possibility of adopting video links as a means to conduct case hearings amid coronavirus pandemic protect judges, lawyers, and citizens from the contagion and to avoid pendency of cases. The online court is the best alternative in this situation.
According to a fortnight report of the Supreme Court, 44,017 cases were pending in the court. More than 2,000 cases have been added to the backlog during the tenure of the incumbent Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed. For all pending cases, the online court option is best these days.
However, the institution of cases has also decreased in the last couple of months apparently due to the pandemic. Currently, all SC judges are sitting in benches to hear cases. However, each bench is hearing only a few cases.
One section of the lawyer believes that instead of focusing proceedings to examine the executive actions to fight COVID-19, the apex court should consider different options as to how the pendency of cases can be reduced while also securing the health of judges, lawyers, and litigants.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Syed Qalb-i-Hassan said if the situation did not change soon then the financial condition of many lawyers will become precarious. He said the apex court should evolve a mechanism to hear cases through video link after Eidul Fitr.
“The matter was referred to CJ Gulzar Ahmed for approval. However, despite the passage of three weeks, there is no update as to whether the apex court will approve the proposal or not,” he said.
“However, before using the proposed system, the IT wing should ensure successful trial runs.
“The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), offices of Attorney General for Pakistan and advocate generals and prosecutor generals to be given a demonstration of the workability of the proposed system and consider their suggestion,” he said.