SCBA, SCAORA urge the Chief Justice of India to consider resumption of physical hearings at Supreme Court
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SCBA, SCAORA urge the Chief Justice of India to consider resumption of physical hearings at Supreme Court

CJI Bobde, during a hearing today, had remarked that a seven-member committee of the Supreme Court will soon hold a meeting to decide on the course of the functioning of the Supreme Court in the coming days.

Shruti Mahajan

The Executive Committees of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), as well as the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA), have urged the Supreme to consider the resumption of physical hearings in the Apex Court in a phased manner.

This request comes from the two associations after a joint resolution was passed on July 20 to this effect. The associations have requested the Chief justice of India SA Bobde and other companion Judges to consider the request for resumption of physical hearings in the larger interest.

CJI Bobde, during a hearing today, had remarked that a seven-member committee of the Supreme Court will soon hold a meeting to decide on the course of the functioning of the Supreme Court in the coming days.

The Court has been conducting the hearings through video conferencing for about four months now on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Associations, in their resolution, have requested the Court to consider the resumption of physical hearings in a phased manner, suggesting that initially the hearings may be conducted in a hybrid fashion with both the modes, i.e. physical as well as video conferencing.

It says that the resumption of hearings for all classes of matters is imperative and that it is pertinent that the Advocates present their cases from inside the Court halls.

The joint resolution points out that many matters may be voluminous involving a large number of lawyers. Therefore, it is difficult to conduct such cases through video conferencing. As such, it is proposed that physical hearings may be conducted for fresh, admission, after notice matters, and even part-heard cases. Video conferencing may be used for hearing chamber matters and registrar court matters, it is suggested.

The SCBA and SACAORA have suggested that entry into the Court premises may be restricted. Further, it is stated that guidelines and Standard operating Procedures (SOP) may be laid down for allowing entry after due consultation is held with a committee of doctors.

“Entry to the Court can be restricted only to lawyers of the matters listed, at the entry point of high security zone itself. Litigants and clerks may not be allowed to the high security zone but for exceptional reasons/ occasions.”
- it is suggested.

Wearing of masks, maintenance of proper hygiene and observing other precautionary measures must be mandatory, the recommendations further state.

The SCBA and SCAORA have also requested the CJI to hold a meeting with the Presidents of both the associations as well as other office-bearers of these bodies to work out modalities for the resumption of physical hearings.

A dialogue process between the bodies and the committee of the Court is also requested to discuss issues affecting the Court's functioning and the Registry, including the up-gradation of virtual hearings to a better platform.

The joint resolution has been signed by the Acting Secretary of SCBA, Advocate Rohit Pandey and the Secretary of SCAORA, Advocate Joseph Aristotle.

Read Joint Resolution:

Joint Resolution dated 20.07.2020 of Executive Committees of SCBA and SCAORA.pdf
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