Calcutta HC judge says he will not hold court till connectivity problems resolved

By PTI
KOLKATA: Taking a serious view of connectivity issues during hearings in the virtual mode, Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya of the Calcutta High Court on Friday said unless such technical glitches are resolved completely, he will not be part of such hearings.

Justice Bhattacharyya directed the central project coordinator to show- cause in writing by 3 pm on Friday as to why criminal contempt proceedings should not be drawn up against the High Court Administration over disruptions in virtual court hearings.

Asserting that he was stopping short of issuing a Rule of Contempt to give a last chance to the High Court Administration to rectify the faults in connectivity, Justice Bhattacharyya directed that the matter be listed on Saturday for passing further orders.

“I categorically refuse to be a part of such circus because I have taken oath to deliver justice to the litigants, who are outside the Courtrooms and beyond the reaches of the air-conditioned rooms accommodating the Judges and toiling in the sun and the dust outside,” Justice Bhattacharyya observed.

Due to connectivity issues during the hearing of a matter, Justice Bhattacharyya observed that despite tall talks about achievements of virtual hearing facilities and restricting hearing of litigations entirely to virtual hearings, it is unfortunate that the court is unable to provide the minimum virtual services to ensure that justice is rendered appropriately.

The judge said he felt ashamed that the esteemed Chartered High Court, which has an illustrious history, was being relegated to such insignificance that “we cannot render justice to the litigants at large due to mere connectivity issues.”

“Sitting in court and playing dumb charades during virtual hearings with the advocates, due to major disruptions in virtual services, has become a joke by now and does not tantamount to adjudication of matters but is a mere circus show before the public.

“I personally feel guilty, as a part of this Court, since disruption and interference in functioning of Courts, in whatever form, might amount to criminal contempt. I am a party to such act as a part of the showcase of Judges who are adorning this Court, including the Chief Justice,” Justice Bhattacharyya said in the order.

Mentioning he will not sit in court till such time that the technical glitches are resolved in full, the Judge directed the Central Project Coordinator to ensure that the show-cause in writing is sent to his chamber during the day elaborating the issues disrupting connectivity in court.

He directed that a copy of the response be communicated to the Acting Chief Justice (Acting), through his secretary as well as to the Registrar General of the high court.