Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi
Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi

"Closing courts for long a self-destructive idea", Rakesh Dwivedi writes to the CJI for the gradual restoration of Court functions

Shruti Mahajan

Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi has written to the Chief Justice of India, Justice SA Bobde, with suggestions for gradual restoration of Court's functioning which is at present undertaking restricted functions.

The Supreme Court of India has been carrying out hearing for matters of extreme urgency via video conferencing owing to the unprecedented situation of a nation-wide lockdown and the critical situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the Courts across the country remain shut with only restricted functioning for urgent cases being carried out.

Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi, however, opines that "closing courts for long is a self destructive idea", and said so in his letter written to CJI SA Bobde on Saturday, April 11.

With hearings on all other cases suspended, Dwivedi says that "cases are in quarantine" and vital interests of the people on the line. And for this reason, the Courts should gradually restore their functioning.

Courts are sentinels of fundamental rights. There are backlogs. Vital interests of the people are involved and the cases are in quarantine. Video conferencing is like putting the court in ICU on oxygen.
Sr. Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi in his letter to CJI SA Bobde

Dwivedi puts forth some suggestions for CJI Bobde and his companion Judges to consider for the purpose of restoring Court's functioning in a phased or gradual manner. Some ideas Dwivedi presents in his letter as "food for thought" for the Judges are:

1. All courts sit with 25 cases each. On hearing days 5 cases and 5 final disposals.

2. Judges and lawyers wear masks as well as gloves . As it is judges sit on the dias. They are separated from lawyers by a good distance. They themselves can sit 5 ft apart.

3. Employees can be divided into two groups, each working for a week. They can be tested beorefhand and sanitized.

4. Very few employees should approach the judges. Preferably not more than 2.

5. Cases should be further divided hourly basis. 5 cases per hour. So lawyers in court are few.

6. For Every case only 2 seniors with one junior should be allowed entry.

7. No client should be allowed in court.

8. Lawyers must leave court once their case is over. Their clerk too.

9. Filing can be by internet only.

10. No intern should be allowed.

11. All lawyers chamber, canteens and library may remain closed.

Dwivedi says that closure of Court's normal functioning may not be in national interest and at a time when the country fights the ear against the COVID pandemic, Courts must remain awake to the maximum extent possible.

With little functioning of the court the checks and balance is absent. Amidst the pandemic war the Apex court must remain Awake to the maximum extent possible.
Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi

Earlier, the SCBA had resolved to give up the summer vacation scheduled for this year in order to help in making up for the lost time amid the lockdown and had urged the CJI and his companion Judges to consider suspending the summer break for the Apex Court given that the litugants were facing distress in light of non functioning of Courts for matters of non-urgent nature.

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