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SC tells directs family court to hear matrimonial case virtually

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday said that, as an exception, the trial in a matrimonial dispute can be conducted virtually through video conferencing, against the backdrop of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran said: “Due to the ongoing pandemic, physical functioning of the courts has been stopped since March 2020. Proceedings in all courts are being conducted only through video conferencing.”

In the review petition, the petitioner cited that video conferencing is not permissible in matrimonial matters in accordance with the judgment of the top court delivered on October 9, 2017 in a case titled “Santhini vs. Vijaya Venketesh”. The top court observed that in the normal course, it would not have directed video conferencing in respect of matrimonial matters as per this 2017 judgment.

Carving out an exception in the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, the bench said: “However, in the present situation where all proceedings are conducted through video conferencing, we direct the Family Court, District Gautambudh Nagar, UP to conduct the trial through video conferencing.”

The review petition was filed by the wife on the ground that there is no video conferencing facility at Gautambudh Nagar District Courts. She had first filed a transfer petition in the top court in 2016 seeking transfer of the case from Principal Judge, Family Court, Gautambudh Nagar to the Saket Family Court in Delhi.

“The transfer petition was dismissed taking into account the fact that no serious inconvenience will be caused to the petitioner for travelling between Gautambudh Nagar, UP to Saket, New Delhi. While dismissing the transfer petition, this Court directed the trial to be conducted at Gautambudh Nagar Family Court through video conferencing,” the top court noted.

Then, the petitioner moved the top court citing that there was no video conference facility in the Uttar Pradesh court.




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