E-filing in Supreme Court of India explained in brief. Efiling in Supreme Court of India is the much awaited process for the legal fraternity.
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It is a very good news for the litigant, Indian lawyers and all persons concerned with the legal system of India. The Supreme Court has started the e-filing in Supreme Court of India. Efiling in Supreme Courtwill go a long way in facilitating easy and smooth reach of the people to Supreme Court of India.
As we know, Supreme Court of India is the apex court of country. Supreme Court of India has original, appellate jurisdiction wherein thousands of cases are filed under various categories. Most of the cases as filed before Supreme Court of India are on the appellate side. These are mostly against the orders of High Courts or appellate tribunals or some statutory appeals. Since Supreme Court of India is the final court. It is essential that the access of common man for filing his petition before the Supreme Court of India is given through e filing. This is a step towards online legal services which is a new horizon.
There was no e-Filing in Supreme Court of India earlier. All cases were being filed in hard copies in the Registry of court in the fixed formats. After filing the cases were scrutinised and then listed before the court after removing all defects. This was mainly manual. As a result of this, lot of time was being wasted before listing the matter before the court very often. After the introduction of e-Filing in Supreme Court of India, during the lock down period it is simplified. The hearing of the cases is also being done through video conferencing after the e-Filing in Supreme Court of India.
The earlier system of filing hard copies filing was however being followed in a rigorous manner. It was to prevent any mischief or manipulation in the process. Now with the growing implementation of the e court project and keeping in view the requirements of the time, the court has slowly allowed e-Filing in Supreme Court of India.
In view of the ongoing sudden lock down due to Corona Virus since March, 23, 2020, e-Filing in Supreme Court of India has been allowed. Standards are prescribed through standard operating process . As per the notification issued by the Supreme Court of India, only very urgent cases can be filed through the e-Filing in Supreme Court of India and can be listed and heard through video conferencing only by the judges. This crisis has thus initiated the much awaited e-Filing in Supreme Court of India which is expected to be followed even during the normal times as well. The introduction of e-Filing in Supreme Court of India is bound to advance the reach of the Supreme Court more and more. The efiling in Supreme Court will also make the access to Supreme Court more easy for a common man.
THE STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE OF E-FILING IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA:
e-Filing in Supreme Court of India at present has been allowed for only matters involving extreme urgency, to be decided by the Presiding Judge designated for the purposes. The person filing the petition has to send the matter in brief and the Presiding Judge considers it on the basis of prayer made by Advocate-on-Record/Party-in-person by way of a signed and verified mentioning-application containing a synopsis of extreme urgency not exceeding one page. This is the first step of efiling in Supreme Court.
In all matters involving extreme urgency for e-Filing in Supreme Court of India, the Advocate-on Record/Party-in-person is first required to file the petition/miscellaneous application, preferably through the e-filing mode available on the Supreme Court website, as per procedure elaborated at the link https://main.sci.gov.in/php/FAQ/5_6246991526434439183.pdf.
MENTIONING APPLICATION FOR E-FILING IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA:
After the e-Filing in Supreme Court of India, and upon completion of all the formalities, as per rules governing such petition/ miscellaneous application, and upon its due registration the Advocate-on-Record/Party-in-person is permitted to send separately the signed and verified mentioning-application containing a synopsis of extreme urgency not exceeding one page for the purposes of e-Filing in Supreme Court of India.
The mentioning-application for e-Filing in Supreme Court of India shall be submitted only by e-mail at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Mentioning application received by 5 PM, two days’ preceding the date of hearing shall be processed for such date. The mentioning-applications received thereafter would be processed for the next date of hearing.
The mentioning-application for the e-Filing in Supreme Court of India must inter-alia clearly contain the entire case-details as well as the contact-details of the Advocate-on-Record/Party in-person viz. e-mail ID, mobile number with alternate number etc. address stating Pin Code and Police Station with all other important and relevant particulars;
The mentioning-application for e-Filing in Supreme Court of India shall include a separate paragraph with a prayer for exemption from filing duly attested affidavit in the prevailing circumstances, together with an undertaking to the effect that physical copies of documents relied upon in the petition, deficit court fees or other charges, if any, shall be filed at the earliest. It is very important to note that the parties are not permitted to rely upon any document other than the documents filed;
For e-Filing in Supreme Court of India the mentioning-application must also contain a separate paragraph giving consent that the matter may be taken up through the video-conferencing mode.
In the mentioning-application, the Advocate-on-Record/Party-in-Person must specify as to whether he would link to the Bench by video-conferencing through own desktop/laptop/ mobile phone or would prefer to appear at the video-conference facility in the Supreme Court premises.
After the e-Filing in Supreme Court of India and upon the approval of the urgency by the Competent Authority, the case would be listed before the Bench in due course. The case will be reflected in the cause list of the court and all particulars can be verified from the website of Supreme Court.
In case the application praying for listing on grounds of extreme urgency is declined, the AOR/Party-in-Person would be intimated through e-mail. Re-mentioning of case through landline phone at the residence of the judges or otherwise will not be permitted;
In a matter, where a Senior Advocate/ Arguing Counsel is required to appear appear and conduct the hearing, the Advocate-on-Record is required to additionally indicate the contact details of the Senior Advocate/Arguing Counsel, in the mentioning application for the e-Filing in Supreme Court of India;
In a matter where the litigant seeks to view the proceedings, the Advocate-on record may additionally indicate the contact details of the litigant, in the mentioning-application for e-Filing in Supreme Court of India;
Only two appearance-links will be provided per party, together with one viewing-link that may be provided for the litigant separately; hence, it is expected that request of such links, if any, should be clearly made in the mentioning-application to enable the Registry to provide the links in time at each point, at the time of the hearing.
CONDUCT OF CASE THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING
After the e-Filing in Supreme Court of India, the cases are to be heard only through web-based video-conferencing system on the VIDYO platform hosted on the servers of National Data Centre of National Informatics Centre, Govt. of India. The smooth functioning of the video-conference is purely dependent upon the signal at the end of the user. It is therefore advised that parties may verify the signal strength to avoid any disruption during the hearing.
The user at the other end joining the court hearing through video conferencing has to ensure robust connectivity and bandwidth are available at their end. It is advisable to use broadband connection of minimum 2 mbps/dedicated 4G data connection, and may also ensure that no other device or application is connected to or using the bandwidth when the hearing by video-conferencing is progressing on their Vidyo-enabled computer (preferable) or mobile.
THE PROCESS OF HEARING THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Parties are required to download VIDYO DESKTOP application from the site http://ecourtvc.nic.in on their laptop or desktop on any compatible operating system. This platform is to be used for the video conferencing.
All other parties may join the video conferencing on VIDYO platform by downloading the VIDYO MOBILE application in a compatible mobile device (phone or tablet) either from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details? id=com.vidyo. VidyoClient Google Play Store (Android device) or from https://apps.apple.com/us/app/vidyomobile/id444062464 Apple APP Store(iOS device), on the same mobile number as mentioned in their contact-details in mentioning-application;
The Invitation Link for appearance and viewing, as the case may be, will be sent by the Registry to the given mobile through SMS/e-mail/WhatsApp around half-an-hour before the scheduled hearing, and parties may kindly note that each of the link so sent to any device is required to be unique and hence, parties may not share or forward such link(s) to any other device nor shall they enable others to join the hearing through video conference.
Party concerned will be advised to click on the link provided, as received on their computer or mobile device, upon which a window as depicted below in PIC 2 shall open; thereafter, the party is required to click on the “Join Conference” button.
Upon clicking the “Join Conference” button, a ‘VIDYO’ display window as depicted in PIC 3 below shall open, prompting the party to enter the display name before clicking.
“Join” button; the party is required to write his/her name with designation by prefixing item no.(of the cause list) in the space given thereafter the party is required to click on the ‘JOIN” button; PIC 2 PIC 3.
After having clicked on the ‘JOIN’ button, as in PIC 3 above, the party would join other parties in a virtual waiting room, and parties would be required to wait patiently for being joined to the virtual Court room and wait for their turn like the real court room hearing.
Upon being joined to the virtual Court room, arguing counsel shall introduce himself to the Hon’ble Bench and thereafter, shall wait for the instructions from Hon’ble Bench – on being asked, party may make submissions and on completion of the submissions, shall at once ‘mute’ the MIC of the respective device, if the Hon’ble Bench requires the party to make further submission(s), the party may then ‘unmute’ the MIC of the device and again, on completion of the submission, put the MIC on ‘mute’ mode.
Important dos and don’ts:
It is important for parties to remember to keep their MIC on ‘mute’ at all times, except when the Bench requires them to make submission(s); thus, when one party is making submissions, it is imperative that all other participants shall keep their respective MIC muted failing which the possibility of MIC catching audio feed from the speakers and creating `echo/noise disturbance’ would become very high and may disturb the video conference.
It may be noted that simultaneous submissions by more than one party at any given time should be avoided and each party may indicate requirement to speak/submit by asking for permission from Bench, by raising a hand. Once permitted by the Bench, the party shall first ‘un mute’ the MIC and thereafter make submissions.
During hearing through video-conferencing, the parties may kindly keep in mind that it is a virtual court room proceeding visible to all hence it is expected that they would not resort to any indecorous conduct or dress or comment. The party has to ensure that the proceedings by video conference are neither recorded/stored nor broadcast, in any manner whatsoever, as recording/copying/storing and/or broadcasting, by any means, of the hearings and proceedings before the Supreme Court of India are expressly prohibited.
Parties are required to stay online till the Bench concludes the hearing of their matter, thereafter the parties may disconnect from video-conference.
After the publication of the cause-list, the Registry may call any party and require to test the device or its connectivity. It is essential for the hearing of the case by video conference may be smoothly conducted;
After the publication of cause list, a WhatsApp group may be created by the Registry. The participants may raise any query related to video conferencing.
The parties may contact the mentioning Helpline Telephone Numbers 011-23381463 and 011-23111428, as per procedure mentioned through the Circular dated 07.04.2020 available on the website of Supreme Court of India.
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Yes, e-filing in Supreme Court of India is very much possible now and allowed.
The detailed process of e-filing in Supreme Court of India is described on the website of Supreme Court of India at the link at https://main.sci.gov.in/php/FAQ/5_6246991526434439183.pdf.
Yes, after the e-filing of petition, the court can have the hearing of the court through video conferencing now.