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Courts Heard 4L Cases Since Covid Outbreak

New Delhi: The High Court and other District Courts in Odisha have heard nearly 4 lakh cases since the outbreak of Covid-19 in India.

According to a statement of Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju, the High Court of Orissa has heard 2,18,073 cases from March 23, 2020 to October 31, 2021 while the District Courts in Odisha have heard 1,81,653 cases from March 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021 (totalling to 3,99,726).

The virtual court in Odisha was started in August 2021. Video conferencing emerged as the mainstay of the courts during the Covid lockdown period as physical hearings and normal court proceedings in the congregational mode were not possible, he said.

Live streaming of cases is functional from August 2, 2021 in High Court of Orissa. The High Court’s e-Services Mobile App to help lawyers and litigants in availing cases and court related information from the convenience of their smartphones was launched on the same day.

Besides providing Case Status, Cause List, New Cases Filed, Judgment/Orders, Defect Status, Certified Copy Status, the Mobile App also features a live display board for all Benches and a Digital Notice Board of the court, the Union Minister informed.

The ‘Free Text Search’ facility conceptualized by the e-Committee, Supreme Court of India for searching judgments and orders of the High Court has been integrated with the High Court’s Mobile App for convenient access.

The High Court of Orissa has launched a Software Module called the Order Communication Portal (OCP) to facilitate secure and instantaneous communication of High Court’s orders and judgments to Subordinate Courts in a paperless environment, thereby saving resources and time consumed in traditional methods of correspondence, he said.

So far, 15 virtual courts have been set up in 11 States/UTs viz. Delhi (2), Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala (2), Maharashtra (2), Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir (2), Uttar Pradesh and Odisha to try traffic offences.

As on December 3, 2021, all these courts have handled more than 1.07 crore cases and realised more than Rs 201.96 crore in fines.

Since Covid lockdown started, the District Courts across India heard 1,01,77,289 cases while the High Courts heard 55,24,021 cases (totaling to 1.57 core) till October 31, 2021 using video conferencing only. The Supreme Court alone heard 1,50,692 hearings since the lockdown period upto October 29 last, Mr.Rijiju said in his reply to the Upper House of Parliament today.