The Delhi High Court recently emphasized the need for swift action regarding the installation of a biometric machine to streamline lawyer access to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) premises. Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna, presiding over a division bench, directed the Union Government to accord priority to this proposal. Additionally, the Land and Development Office (L&DO) was instructed to expedite the process within a timeframe of eight weeks.

This directive followed petitions filed in 2018 by the bar associations of both NCLT and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), raising concerns about numerous deficiencies in the current premises. The proposal for the biometric facility was put forth by Senior Advocate A.S. Chandhiok, acting as the amicus curiae in the case.

In an order dated December 06, the court mandated, “Union of India is directed to consider on priority basis the proposal mooted by the learned Amicus Curiae for installation of a Biometric machine facility to facilitate access of lawyers to the National Company Law Tribunal (‘NCLT’) premises.”

The case Is set to be further deliberated upon on February 21, 2024.

Last year, the court had directed the Central Government to make a decision regarding the establishment of a separate complex specifically designated for NCLT and NCLAT. Furthermore, it directed the maintenance of the status quo concerning the utilization, renovation, or construction of the space vacated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy within the building that houses the NCLT.

The initiative to implement a biometric access system within the NCLT premises aims to streamline and expedite the entry process for lawyers, ensuring smoother operations within the tribunal. This step is particularly critical given the growing caseload and the need for an efficient system that caters to the legal fraternity’s access requirements.

The move to prioritize the installation of a biometric machine aligns with efforts to address the longstanding concerns highlighted by the bar associations. The installation of such a system is anticipated to significantly enhance accessibility and efficiency, facilitating the legal fraternity’s seamless interaction with the NCLT facilities.

The involvement of Senior Advocate A.S. Chandhiok as the amicus curiae further underscores the significance and urgency of this proposal. Chandhiok’s suggestion for the biometric facility reflects a pragmatic approach toward resolving the deficiencies at the NCLT premises, emphasizing the necessity for a more streamlined and technologically adept access system.

This recent direction by the Delhi High Court serves as a push towards modernizing the NCLT infrastructure, aligning it with contemporary technological advancements to cater to the legal fraternity’s evolving needs.

The court’s focus on prompt consideration of this proposal underscores the urgency to address the infrastructural gaps identified by the bar associations. The directive to the Union Government and the L&DO to prioritize this initiative within a stipulated timeframe indicates a commitment to expediting necessary changes for an enhanced working environment at the NCLT.

In addition to advocating for the biometric facility, the court’s earlier directives concerning the establishment of a separate complex for NCLT and NCLAT demonstrate a comprehensive approach aimed at ensuring conducive and efficient working conditions within these tribunals.

The forthcoming hearing scheduled for February 21, 2024, is anticipated to further deliberate on the progress made regarding the installation of the biometric access system and other related infrastructural enhancements. This ongoing judicial oversight emphasizes the court’s commitment to ensuring timely and effective resolutions to improve the functioning of the NCLT.

The directive by the Delhi High Court marks a pivotal step toward addressing the longstanding infrastructural challenges faced by the NCLT, fostering a more accessible and technologically proficient environment for legal practitioners.

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