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A Committee of seven judges of the Supreme Court has confirmed that there will be no physical hearings for now, in light of the growth of COVID-19 cases in the capital.
The Supreme Court, which has been functioning via video conferencing since March 24, will continue to hear cases virtually until the Committee headed by Justice NV Ramana takes a call on June 30.
The resolution, which was being deliberated upon by the seven-judge Committee entrusted with deciding when the Court will open for regular physical hearings, has now been finalised.
The Committee comprises Justices Ramana, Arun Mishra, Rohinton Fali Nariman, UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and L Nageswara Rao.
As per a letter to the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA), sent by the Supreme Court Registry, it has been stated that "on account of the alarming growth of positive cases of corona virus and its fallouts," the Court has decided to stick to virtual hearings as of now.
The Registry, which had earlier decided to hear chamber matters and cases in the Registrar's court, has also decided that matters would be "listed before Hon’ble Judge-in-Chambers as well as before the Court of the Registrar, through Virtual Court system only, to enable wider participation of Ld. Advocates."
Regarding further functioning of the Court via video conferencing, the Committee headed by Justice Ramana "will next meet on June 30, 2020, or any other suitable date, for taking stock of the situation and consider additional data/opinion as may be obtained, with a view to further consider the suggestions/requests."
Sources have told Bar & Bench that one of the prime considerations before the Apex Court judges was the earnings of small scale lawyers being hampered. A source revealed,
"Lawyers who argue chamber matters and before Registrar's court had a lot to lose during COVID-19. The judges are inclined to start physical hearing atleast in these two segments but what bothers is how would crowd be managed in the corridors or in the courtrooms."