Virtual Court for Ladakh

The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir is unique, from the plains of Kathua and Samba to mountainous tracks to the Kashmir Valley to record altitudes in Ladakh-all in one state, nowhere else in the rest of India. From extreme temperatures of forty degrees plus Celsius at Jammu to minus forty degrees at Ladakh, the wide range is beyond one’s imagination; that’s the diversity of Jammu and Kashmir. Most importantly, during the winter, the Kashmir-Ladakh highway is closed for several months, making air travel the only option. Despite now having Ladakh carved out of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate UT, the High Court has been kept together. As explained by the hostile winter conditions and a distance of four hundred-plus kilometers, an ordinary man can’t regularly pursue his legal cases. The physical endurance and money involved are beyond the scope of the population of the UT of Ladakh. The ever considerate High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has taken a historic decision, regular Virtual Courts. No more clients and lawyers from Ladakh have to travel to Srinagar or Jammu for hearings. The Acting Chief Justice of High Court deserves all accolades for his historic decision, which goes a long way to serve Ladakhis. The Acting Chief Justice heard six cases himself and promised that the practice would continue in the future. He being from Ladakh, understands the practical problems being faced by the masses of Leh and Kargil. Life there is not easy at all during the winter and understanding the real issues and resolving them with an out-of-the-box solution is much appreciated. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HC has already conducted virtual-mode court proceedings, and as such, judges and lawyers are all well versed with the set procedures. Technology is there, already tested and implemented, so there is no harm in extending the much-needed respite to the people of Ladakh. Everyone involved has played a crucial role, and this is only possible due to the team’s efforts. This is a timely step by the High Court for the public.