New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court Tuesday came down heavily on the Yogi Adityanath government for not providing proper internet facilities to government lawyers appearing in video conference proceedings.
Hearing a bail application, Justice Abdul Moin said that despite an order passed on 27 May directing the state government to ensure proper internet facilities are provided to government counsel appearing in court, not much had changed.
The court observed that over the past few weeks, it has repeatedly noticed a connectivity problem on the part of the state counsel, and said, “… as such it is apparent that it is the State which is standing as an impediment in the administration of justice”.
“This lackadaisical attitude on the part of the state counsels more particularly when bail applications are involved, cannot be appreciated,” it then asserted, asking the principal secretary (Law/Legal Remembrancer) to be personally present in court.
The principal secretary has been ordered to explain “why the aforesaid be not treated as a deliberate interference in the administration of justice and as to why appropriate action be not initiated against him”.
The court acknowledged that the chief justice has ordered that officials should not be directed to be personally present in the court, but asserted that it had been “compelled to pass the instant order taking into consideration the repeated failure of the learned state counsels to appear either through video conferencing or even upon being contacted on their mobiles, to address the court”.
A copy of the order was directed to be sent to the principal secretary within 24 hours. The case will next be heard on 10 June.
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‘Lackadaisical attitude on the part of the state’
On Tuesday, Justice Moin noted that a similar situation arose on 27 May, while hearing another bail application. While the lawyer for the bail applicant had addressed the court, nobody had appeared from the government’s side.
When contacted over phone, the additional government advocate told the court of the low bandwidth and internet connectivity issues.
Taking a stern view of the situation, the court on 27 May then rapped the authorities for failing to provide proper internet facility to government lawyers, especially when the cases involved the liberty of people.
Highlighting the “lackadaisical attitude on the part of the state”, it had observed, “Once the State is the defending litigant in all such matters consequently it is expected that at least the State would be able to provide proper facilities to its counsels who are appearing before the Court of law may be by providing a dedicated space with proper infrastructure and adequate internet facility from where learned State counsels can put forth their submissions and instructions that may have been received by them from the Government.
“Completely leaving the state counsels to address the court on the basis of their own facilities including mobile phones and internet facility cannot by any stretch of imagination be appreciated by the court,” it added.
The court had said that it expects the state government to provide such facilities to the government counsel who represented the government before the court.
However, it noted on Tuesday that despite this order, the same situation persists.
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