The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on July 16 constituted a Committee headed by the Home Secretary of the State, Shaleen Kabra, to examine the reasons of difficulties in the e-connectivity in both the Wings of the High Court.
Pursuant to the court’s order, Shaleen Kabra, had appeared before the court through video conferencing. According to him, amongst the reasons, the difficulties in the e-connectivity as pointed out are leaseline issues; need of enhancement of lease line bandwidth; optimal utilization of the software, distribution of bandwidth amongst different users, which has not been optimally effected.
Further, the home secretary suggested that one more reason for poor e-connectivity is the possible misuse of the available bandwidth. He added that an audit was required of the facilities which are in existence and which are required to be urgently added.
After noting the submission of the home secretary, a division bench comprising the Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar constituted a committee to undertake a proper audit of the facilities before making their report. The other members in the committee includes, Mr. Shahzad Azeem, Registrar (IT), J&K High Court; Mr. Abhay Kumar, SIO, NIC, J&K; Mr. Sanjeev Tyagi, Nodal Officer, BSNL, J&K and Director, National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Jammu or an expert to be nominated by him from NIELIT.
“The reports of the Committee shall at the first instance be placed before the Chairperson of IT Committee of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir for his consideration. Mr. Shahzad Azeem, Registrar (IT) shall place the observations of the Chairperson, IT Committee along with the final report before this Court on the next date of hearing”, the court said.
HC fixed July 23 as the next date of hearing when all members of the Committee to remain present in court through video conferencing.
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The High Court of J&K has been facing extreme difficulty in holding virtual hearings on account of restrictions on the high-speed Internet connectivity. Hence it had directed Shaleen Kabra, the Home Secretary to the J&K Government, to appear before the court to apprise it about the impact of the restrictions on e-connectivity of the courts.
The court had observed that “Access to justice is a fundamental right and cannot be impeded. It has to be ensured to every citizen and courts are required to remain accessible”.
Further, the bench had said, “it has been impossible today to have even a bare semblance of a hearing. We have struggled to have virtual/or audio connectivity with the amicus curiae and the several counsels appearing before us”.
The Court also highlighted the Supreme Court’s decision on May 11 in ‘Foundation for Media Professionals v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Anr’ whereby the apex court had directed to constitute a special committee comprising the Union Home Secretary as its chairperson and Secretary (Department of Communication) and the Chief Secretary of UT of J&K as its members to determine the necessity of the continuation of the restrictions on 4G Internet in J&K.
On July 16, the Supreme Court while hearing a contempt petition alleging non-constitution of the special committee in compliance with its order, had asked the Centre to file its reply within a week.
Read the Order here: