Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao
Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao
Litigation News

[Breaking] Supreme Court 7-judge committee says 3 big courtrooms to be made ready for physical hearing on experimental basis

The virtual meeting held by the Committee on August 11 was attended by the office-bearers of the SCBA, the SCAORA, and the Bar Council of India (BCI)

Debayan Roy

The Supreme Court seven-judge committee led by Justice NV Ramana has asked court officials to prepare three big courtrooms ready for physical hearings within a week.

A suggestion has been made that cases be listed after 10 days of such courtrooms being readied.

Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao
Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao

The top court's communication to the President of the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association states that in following a meeting held on August 11, the judges have decided that on an experimental basis and as a pilot-scheme, three of the larger courtrooms in the Supreme Court complex would be readied strictly adhering to the "prescribed distancing and other norms" as per medical advice.

The communication further states that matters would be listed in such courts 10 days after the courtrooms are ready to operate, subject to the prior consent and willingness of all parties to argue in a physical hearing set-up.

As of now the pilot scheme would only allow a limited number of cases slotted for final hearing to be listed in the three courtrooms, which may be expanded in the future if the "ground situation warrants."

However as of now all other matters, including miscellaneous matters usually listed from Monday to Friday, would continue to be heard via video conferencing.

The virtual meeting held by the committee on August 11 was attended by the office bearers of the SCBA, the SCAORA, and the Bar Council of India (BCI).

Earlier, post the meeting, it was informed that both the SCBA and SCAORA Presidents had urged the committee to restart physical functioning of the Court from August 18 onwards, with strict safety measures in place.

The committee, however, stated that experts had recommended that physical hearings may restart after two weeks and upon a fresh review at that point.

The Bar representatives are stated to have pointed out that the COVID-19 situation may remain more or less the same after two weeks. Therefore, it was urged that the Court may consider resuming its physical functioning earlier so that solutions may be found to challenges likely to arise that much earlier.

The seven-judge committee comprises Justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, Rohinton Fali Nariman, UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and L Nageswara Rao.

Read the Supreme Court communication:

SC Communication re Physical Hearings at SC.pdf
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