Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said that “overzealous” public interest litigations must be avoided in challenging times like the coronavirus pandemic. He added that court proceedings through video conferencing may remain a norm for some time and said that it was an opportunity to make the digital justice delivery system stronger.

The law minister made the remarks during a videoconference with a team of law officers headed by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

“The law minister in particular highlighted that during these challenging times overzealous PILs [public interest litigation] need to be avoided,” the government said in a press release after the meeting. “Though one cannot stop anyone from filing cases but there must be an effective response to these types of interventions.”

Prasad added that over 1,200 lawyers have registered for online filing of cases amid the lockdown. The government’s statement added, “1,282 advocates have registered for e-filing of petitions during the lockdown out of which 543 advocates have registered in last one week alone.”

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During the videoconference, the top law officers told Prasad that there was a need to address connectivity issues and to train lawyers on managing e-courts. The law minister directed the officials to convey these challenge to the e-Court Committee of the Supreme Court. “It was felt that in view of the seriousness of the pandemic, Court proceedings through video conferencing may remain a norm for some time to come,” the official statement read. “The law minister emphasised to take this challenge as an opportunity to make digital systems in justice delivery more robust.”

Amid the nationwide lockdown, the Supreme Court and other courts across the country are hearing urgent cases through videoconferencing.

The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 67,152 on Monday morning and the toll climbed to 2,206. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold his fifth meeting with chief ministers of all states, to analyse the coronavirus situation in the country. The lockdown has been imposed till May 17.