Time to say goodbye to circuit benches?

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:52 PM, 6 May, 2020
Time to say goodbye to circuit benches?

All TV channels and newspapers across the world have fully highlighted the way Covid-19 has adversely affected all walks of life and the way its impact would be experienced even in distant future.

But it is also a fact that this adversity has promoted the use of video link, which is a positive development.  

The use of this mode of communication has grown even in judiciary – after which, apparently, there is little justification left for circuit benches.

The Supreme Court and the high court judges, according to a set schedule, visit important cities to hear cases.  This arrangement has been going on for decades for the convenience of litigants. Lawyers, instead of visiting the principal seat of the apex court in Islamabad or those of the high court at provincial capitals, approach the easily-accessible circuit benches to have their petitions taken up.

But now that the use of video link by the judiciary is growing, there is no need left for the circuit benches. The judges would not have to leave their principal seat to perform their duties.

The only requirement is the installation of the system at places convenient to litigants.

If the courts identify such places in consultation with the bars’ representatives, video link would make the lives of judges as well as lawyers very easy. And once this system is made operational at the desired stations, judges would not have to personally go there.  And the government would not have to pay travelling and daily allowances to such jurists. This will mean handsome saving.

The sooner the lawyers and judges hold consultations on the subject, the better.

The installation of video link is not difficult or expensive since the country has already gained much expertise in this field.

The educational institutions are already making the use of this technology at a large scale. In fact, important universities have turned into virtual universities and the system is working satisfactorily.

The students and teachers don’t have to go to distant campuses, as a result of which traffic rush on roads has witnessed marked decrease.

The indirect savings of the new technology are also enormous.

The video link is also being used by the chief ministers and other high officials. The governors and the chief ministers are holding important meetings through this link, as a result of which they don’t have to travel to distant places.

It would not be wrong to say that this is sort of a revolution in life. Although the technology was being used even in the past, but its use at a large scale has been seen after the Covid-19 calamity.

If it is tried in other walks of life, people would not have to face the kind of problems they have been facing until now.

The telemedicine is also a good development.

Top doctors are available to patients through video link. No queues outside the offices of these doctors and no travel problems to patients.