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Armed Forces Tribunal begins hearing cases through video-conferencing

The Delhi-based principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal on Wednesday initiated hearing of matters pertaining to regional benches through video conferencing, said a defence ministry spokesperson.

The AFT chairperson Justice Rajendra Menon inaugurated hearings by video conferencing for all 10 regional benches of the tribunal.

“With this provision of hearing by video conferencing, an immense relief has been brought to the armed forces personnel, whose applications are awaiting justice at various Regional Benches,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

The AFT’s principal bench is the only court that has been conducting physical hearings since June 8 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Physical hearings are being conducted at the Principal Bench taking into account hardships and limitations faced by armed forces personnel, retired as well as serving, primarily due to their far-flung locations and various security related issues,” the statement said.

All precautions are being taken during the physical hearings at the principal bench. These include high hygiene standards, the court premises being sanitised twice daily, entry to the court being restricted to a bare minimum and social distancing norms being followed.

The advocates appearing in the AFT are separated by a transparent sheet, from the judges and proper social distancing is maintained between court staff and judges, the statement said.

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