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Virtual Court Sitting Is Constitutional – Supreme Court

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Ganiyat Ganiyu 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that virtual court sittings are constitutional.

A seven-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour held that virtual court sittings are presumed to be valid and not been declared unconstitutional by the apex court.

The Supreme Court struck out suits by Lagos and Ekiti states, challenging the legality of virtual court sittings.

In the suit, the Attorney-General of Ekiti State, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, asked the court to determine whether the directive issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation to the Heads of Courts at Federal and State levels, as it relates to the conduct of virtual proceedings in court, is not a violation of the federalism provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

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He also wanted the apex court to determine if the directive issued in line with the National Judicial Council is not a violation of the constitutional provisions on fair hearing as it relates to the conduct of criminal trials in public.

Furthermore, Fapohunda asked the court to set aside or strike down directives to the extent that they purport to be binding on the Ekiti State High Court for being inconsistent with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

But in a unanimous judgement on Tuesday, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour declared that as of today, virtual court sittings are not unconstitutional.

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