Judges from Delhi and Chennai high Court hear cases jointly via Conference Call

While video-conferencing became the preferred mode of hearing cases by courts across India during the lockdown, Delhi high court set an interesting precedent.

The bench comprising of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad conducted hearings via video conferencing on Monday where one judge was in Delhi and the other in Chennai.

Justice Prasad, who was recently transferred to Delhi, had left for Chennai before the lockdown was announced and remained there since. However, transcending distances, the bench heard matters after the high court administration reached out to justice Prasad and ensured he could log in from Chennai on the Delhi high court system, as per sources.

The bench took up two petitions on Monday in this manner where lawyers and judges participated remotely. One case was related to providing food, water, electricity and sanitation to thousands of homeless persons, daily wage workers, stranded and living in the open along the banks of Yamuna at Kashmere Gate.

After hearing the counsels for the government and petitioner Sunil Kumar Aledia, the bench directed the Delhi government to continue with steps taken by it to ensure there was no dearth of food, water, electricity and sanitation where the homeless were living.

It had also taken on record assurance by the government that its labour department inspected camps for construction workers at Sarai Kale Khan and was satisfied that it was being run smoothly and contract labourers/daily wagers were being supplied food and other facilities on a regular basis during the lockdown period.

The other matter before the court was a plea by a pregnant woman seeking to abort her foetus as it suffered from several abnormalities and its chances of survival after birth was bleak.

The Court allowed the woman to terminate her over 23-week pregnancy noting there was a “substantial risk” that the baby would, after birth, suffer from abnormalities that would be “seriously detrimental to its healthy and normal life.”

It noted,“the child would be exposed to numerous intra operative and post operative complications and if any such problems arise, it would affect the quality of its life.”

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