HC rejects plea to introduce online hearing in Waqf Tribunal

The bench, however, granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the appropriate forum seeking inclusion of the Waqf Tribunal under the e-Court project.
Madras High Court
Madras High CourtFile photo

CHENNAI: The first bench of the Madras High Court has rejected a PIL plea to introduce online filing and virtual hearing of cases in the Tamil Nadu Waqf Tribunal.

The direction, as prayed for by the petitioner, cannot be given, the bench of Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice N Mala said on September 9. Physical hearing is the normal course and the exception is virtual hearing, that too, on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. It further depends on the availability of the facility for it. The counsel for the Waqf Board states that the tribunal concerned is not equipped with the requisite infrastructure for permitting virtual hearing. ''Hence, we do not find any reason to issue the direction of the nature sought by the petitioner,'' the judges said.

The bench, however, granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the appropriate forum seeking inclusion of the Waqf Tribunal under the e-Court project.

The writ petition was filed by A Syed Kaleesha for a direction to the authorities concerned to upload the case status, orders and cause-list of Tamil Nadu Waqf Tribunal cases in e-Courts or in any of the portals or websites. He contended there is only one such tribunal in Tamil Nadu and in the absence of an e-court facility, the litigants and counsel are put to great hardship.

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