E-courts start hearings in Islamabad

Only cases deemed to be urgent will be heard


Saqib Bashir May 14, 2020
. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the 40-year history of district courts in the federal capital, cases will be heard by e-courts. An official communique in this regard was issued on Wednesday.

Through the e-courts, lawyers will be able to attend hearings and give arguments in cases from their homes or offices.

With the district courts closed currently due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic - which has already infected some judicial staff at the Islamabad High Court, the Islamabad East Sessions Judge Rakhshanda Shaheen has decided to start hearing cases through e-courts.

A circular issued by the sessions judge said that the two e-courts will hear cases deemed to be of an urgent nature.

Senior Civil Judge Rasool Bakhsh Meraj has been appointed as the in-charge of the e-court. He will be responsible for providing “stationery and other necessities of said court beside any other issue”. Moreover, two officials have been assigned, one for each of the e-courts. Faheem Ahmed will provide technical assistance to these courts.

On the operational end, the courts will use commercially available video conferencing technology such as Skype or Google Meet to hold trials. A special ID and e-court’s landline number has also been provided to lawyers.

Islamabad Bar Association President Zafar Khokhar and other members of the bar thanked the sessions judge for this move. Subsequently, Khokhar issued a notice to bar members stating that an important issue regarding safe hearings of cases during a pandemic has been resolved.

“E-Courts will get better results in less time,” he said. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2020.

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