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EXECUTIVE IS BETTER-SUITED TO DEAL WITH COVID-19: CJI

Why in news?

In an Interview the Chief Justice of India said that the Executive with its three ‘Ms’ of money, men and material is the better-suited branch of the Government to deal with COVID-19 crisis regarding Supreme Court interventions.

He also said that hearing of cases through videoconferencing are not in-camera hearings and virtual courts are not closed courts.

Executive is better to handle things during times of Crisis

  • Situations like floods or earthquakes or a Pandemic like this one is when the Executive gets in to action with three ‘Ms’ are ‘men, material and money’.
  • It is very difficult for the court to assume charge and say ‘this is what the priority should be’ and ‘this is what it should be like’.
  • The Executive is better suited to decide on the ‘whats’, ‘hows’ and ‘whens’ of deploying money, material and men.
  • The courts ensure that rule of law does not suffer and people’s lives and properties do not suffer. But courts cannot deal with the situation on the ground.

From open court system to videoconferencing

  • Videoconferencing does not mean courts are closed.
  • Virtual courts are not in-camera courts.
  • When the video links are given, there are people who can see what is happening on the screen from where the lawyers address the court. Hence, it is not a binary situation.
  • The distinction made between videoconferencing and open court system is not accurate. A better description would be virtual courts and ‘courts in congregation’.
  • There is no absence of openness in the present videoconferencing proceedings. Things are not being decided without anybody coming to know.
  • Only thing is the number of people who could attend like in a court in congregation is reduced.

What has changed in the justice administration system?

  • There is much less pressure on the courts as very few actions are being taken in the country which normally generate litigation.
  • Events that generate litigation are few and far between. To that extent, pressure is also less on the courts and filing of cases is not what it was.
  • The courts are doing their best to cope with the situation, in particular, they are selecting and prioritising matters they must hear.
  • Courts are continuing to hear cases despite constraints through videoconferencing.
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November 2022
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