Justice recounts how Karnataka HC staff made payments to use video conferencing links during proceedings

Judges and registrars paid using their credit cards for Zoom’s subscription to the virtual court (VC) when the trials began in the Karnataka High Court, Justice Abhay Oka said.


Mumbai,UPDATED: 20 December 2022 04:15 IST

Justice tells how court staff in Karnataka paid for themselves to use video conferencing links during Covid

Justice Abhay Oka was sworn in as a Judge of the High Court of Karnataka on 10 May 2019. (Archive photo)

By Vidya : Speaking at the Bombay High Court on “Role of Technology in Courts”, Justice Abhay Oka recalled the time of the pandemic and judges and registry staff paying for Zoom’s virtual court (VC) subscription using their credit cards. ) hearings began in the High Court.

Justice was sworn in as a judge of the Karnataka High Court on 10 May 2019. In 2021, Judge Oka was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court.

Speaking about the time when the pandemic started and access to the justice system was difficult, Oka said judges and registry staff were paying using their credit cards.

He said it took more than four months to get a refund of the payments made. “We wanted to have an open court in the form of a VC. Things were difficult. We had to pay the Zoom subscription in US dollars. State government rules did not allow us to make payments. It took me 4 months to get the refund,” said Judge Abhay Oka.

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Justice Oka recounted how the Karnataka High Court had faced a lot of criticism since it went against the Home Ministry’s order when Zoom was used as a video conferencing platform.

He also stated that the judiciary did not start using the technology after the blockade was declared. He explained that the lockdown was just a trigger and the courts were already focused on using the technology to innovate.

“The use of VC is only a small and negligible use of technology in the judiciary. The purpose of using technology in the courts is different. It’s not just for judges to sit with judges with monitors. It’s to make our system more efficient. It’s another. to make our system more accessible,” he said.

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