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After nearly two months of hearing only "extremely urgent matters", it appears that the Supreme Court will hear matters through video conferencing on a "large scale".
An observation to this effect was made by a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, while hearing a bail application.
The Bench of Justices L Nageshwara Rao, Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna hinted at the same while hearing the matter challenging a Delhi High Court order sentencing the convict under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. It was observed that the matter would be taken up urgently when hearings begin on larger scale.
"We will take up this matter once video conference hearings begin on a large scale. We will list it immediately", said Justice Rao to Advocate Shikhil Suri, appearing for the applicant.
As the matters listed for the day got over, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, observing that the Bench was seen sitting together at the Supreme Court, asked,
"Are your lordships sitting in courtroom?"
To this, Justice Rao said,
"It is a pilot project. From next week we will be sitting here only. Lawyers can argue from chamber."
SG Mehta remarked that this was a "good idea" and that "no one would infect each other".
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, since March 24, the Supreme Court has been operating via video conferencing, where the judges have been hearing cases from their respective residences or offices.
This was done in conformity with Government of India guidelines mandating social distancing norms to break the chain of the spread of COVID-19.