In view of the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Bombay High Court for the first time today live streamed case hearings being conducted via video conference to allow public access to the proceedings.
Justice Gautam Patel heard nine matters listed before him and over 450 people, including lawyers, petitioners and government officials, participated in the proceedings.
The video conference was held via Zoom app.
The high court has been working on a reduced staff following outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Apart from the Bombay High Court, only the high court of Kerala is conducting court hearings via video conference and live streaming it.
After finishing the court proceedings, Justice Patel said in the present situation everyone, including the judiciary, and lawyers will have to improve their skill sets on how to conduct hearings digitally.
"We are operating with skeletal staff. We cannot achieve social distancing and still expect courts to work normally, he said.
While hearing an application by a Solapur-based man seeking pre-arrest bail, Justice Patel, on a lighter note, said police are busy handling a pandemic and hence, they are not going to bother about trivial criminal matters presently.
"The police are not going to put you (applicant) in jail now. The Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India are asking for prisoners to be released from jail in this present situation, and you (applicant) are worried that the police will arrest you," he said.
"Even if you are arrested now, where will the police take you with lockdown announced everywhere, Justice Patel said.
The court proceedings started at 12 noon and ended at 2 pm.