The Bar Council (BCI) has urged the Centre to provide iPads and laptops to needy lawyers across the country to enable them to avail the facility of e-filing and virtual hearings of courts.
In a resolution passed on Wednesday, the top bar body also reiterated its demand to the Supreme Court and high courts to take early steps to resume hearings in open courts depending on the prevailing conditions of the places.
Besides iPads and laptops, the BCI also urged the government to provide "free and effective Wifi connections in the premises of all the bar associations of the country with advanced scanners and advanced computer systems".
"The union government, in collaboration with the state governments, is requested and required to provide basic iPads/laptops to all needy advocates of the country for the purposes of e-filing and virtual hearings from the confines of their private space, from their homes, offices etc.
"The union/state governments are requested to provide free and effective Wifi connections in the premises of all the bar associations of the country with advanced scanners and advanced computer systems of a minimum of at least two in all district courts, four in all high courts and one in taluka courts'' bar associations," council's chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra said in the resolution.
The BCI added that the steps will facilitate e-filings by those who do not have proper infrastructure.
It said that in places where the COVID-19 cases are lesser and the situation appears to be normal and under control, physical court hearing may be resumed.
"The BCI in its meeting has also requested to SC and high courts to take early steps to resume hearings in open courts depending on the prevailing conditions of the places. The places where the COVID-19 cases are lesser and the situation appears to be normal and under control, the physical hearing may be resumed.
"The district judges should take steps to resume physical hearings after laying down and making efforts for ensuring the effective norms of social distancing," it said.
The BCI added that sanitisation of court-rooms and bar associations'' buildings should also be ensured.
It further said that the e-committees at high court levels have been also been requested to ensure to provide two expert trainers for each bar association of the country, who could train the members of the bar and make them adept at e-filing and virtual hearings.
The Supreme Count and high courts have been requested to provide trainers for advocates about e-filings, it said.