Physical court hearings can never be completely dispensed with: former CJI Dipak Misra


    Former CJI Dipak Misra's remarks assume significance in the context of the recent debate over the pros and cons of virtual courts versus physical courts.

    NEW DELHI: Former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has said that the judicial system must turn the challenge posed by the corona pandemic into an opportunity by using innovations and technology to explore virtual, online alternate dispute resolution mechanisms.

    “It is in challenging times as these that we can make innovations and use technology as a transformational tool. The exploration of a virtual ADR world with virtual hearings and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) mechanisms, with the consent of the parties, is essential although physical hearings can never be completely dispensed with,” he said.

    He was speaking at the ET Legal World – ADR Virtual Conclave 2020 (by the Economic Times) on Thursday. His remarks assume significance in the context of the recent debate over the pros and cons of virtual courts versus physical courts.

    Opinion seems to be sharply divided on the efficacy of virtual courts, with the bench aggressively pushing it as the only alternative to physical courts during a pandemic, and the bar insisting that physical courts be restored with social distancing norms soon.

    The former CJI said: “It will not be an exaggeration if I say today that India has the potential to become the ‘focal point’ and ‘nerve centre’ of arbitration and timely adjudication and cost effective aspects constitute the backbone of such resolution.”

    With the switch to greater use of technology in these times, litigants/parties have to take recourse to Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) mechanisms which are a combination of modern technology and ADR mechanisms, he said.

    “We have to understand the concept of adaptability quotient. That apart, we have to acquaint ourselves with “digital literacy” and “committed patience”.

    “It may be a challenge but one does not have to ask the Hamletian question – “to be or not to be!” but accept the present scenario and march ahead.”

    He also cautioned against accepting defeat in the face of natural calamities such as a pandemic.

    “As a representative of the human race, none should accept defeat in the face of natural calamities. Faith in oneself and confidence in one’s ability… makes each individual a captain of the ship of his life and enables him to metamorphose a calamity to an advantage.”

    “And, that is “character” – a vow not to be vanquished. I am reminded of what Moliere, a famous French writer, had said – “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
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    2 Comments on this Story

    Dilip 46 days ago
    Sonu Sood worked on a mission, also got captain's pat, AB worked in his capacity, rendered a commendable service.
    Devidas Telakat46 days ago
    Does not have the courage to kick the ladder with which he has climbed.Lacks knowledge of jurisprudence and therefore is comfortable with procedure.Judges have to take judicial notice of all existing law and cannot have their law clerks to draft judgments.They have to depend entirely on Indian law including the Constitution which is the fundamental law of superior obligation.
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