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OTP mechanism to ensure prompt payment to appointed counsel: Delhi High Court orders 

The Online Single Window System (OSWS) site must have an OTP-based system in place for the payment of professional fees to empanelled lawyers, under a directive from the Delhi High Court.

The High Court stated that this process must be successfully completed before the next hearing date of December 12 despite its August 2020 directive to the authorities to clear the outstanding bills of standing counsel.

The court was considering a petition filed by Piyush Gupta, who was represented by attorney Rakohit Pandey. The petition detailed complaints regarding bills for professional fees or retainer fees that empanelled lawyers had that were long past due.

The Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad’s division bench noted that the current procedure is “cumbersome” and undermines the goal of streamlined bill filing.

The State is instructed to make sure that some form of OTP-based signature is made accessible because the current procedure is time-consuming and does not achieve the goal of seamless bill submission. Please complete the same task within four weeks from now. ” In a ruling issued on October 6, the court stated

The order was made in response to a motion made by attorney Piyush Gupta to clear the bills of several government attorneys hired by the Delhi government, the Center, and local organisations.

The plea asserts that the bills have been unpaid for a long time. The court has previously been informed that the concerned departments have not approved the bill despite several representations made by the aggrieved counsels and judicial directives.

Santosh Kumar Tripathi, the advocate for the Delhi government, informed the court that the new OSWS portal was now operational for the payment of standing counsel’s professional fees, but he said that the procedure was still time-consuming and onerous.

He proposed that an OTP (one-time password) based system be made accessible on the OSWS portal, which would shorten the time required for bill approval.

“As a result, the State has been directed to ensure that some form of OTP-based signature is made available, as the current procedure is cumbersome and contradicts the goal of seamless bill filing.

Kindly update the same task in four weeks”, as stated by the Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad. 

Ahir Mitra
Ahir Mitra
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