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In the wake of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus, the Supreme Court is taking very urgent matters for hearing remotely.
To carry out proceedings via video conferencing, the judges of the Apex Court have been assembling at the residence or chambers of one of the Judges on the Bench. The lawyers arguing in the listed matters are required to join the video conference from their homes or offices.
Senior Counsel KV Vishwanathan, who was one of the Counsel to appear before the Court through video conferencing, told Bar & Bench that the hearing went on smoothly without any glitches.
All the counsel were connected to the judges via the Vidyo link provided to them by the Court.
Vishwanathan says that the hearing went on as though it was in the Courtroom and added that a video conference hearing can, in fact, be "much more relaxing." The Senior Advocate has a tip to give to lawyers who may appear before the Apex Court, remotely and virtually. He says,
"Hearing through Video conferencing can be much more relaxing than the the Courtroom... What I would advise the lawyers is to be calm and patient and let the other person finish his conversation and then begin."
While deciding the modalities for facilitating video conferencing, the Supreme Court had finalised Vidyo as the platform through which hearings would be conducted. The Court has also kept alternative options of apps and platforms such as WhatsApp, Facetime, and Skype open as well in case of network linkage issues.
This is the first time that hearings in the Supreme Court are being conducted via video conferencing. The move came as part of measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owing to the extraordinary circumstances and the nascent stage of use of video conferencing for hearings, the Supreme Court will be taking up only matters of extreme urgency for hearing.