[COVID-19] Cancel Summer Vacation, give up Vidyo app and improve live streaming facilities in the meantime: SCBA to urge Supreme Court

[COVID-19] Cancel Summer Vacation, give up Vidyo app and improve live streaming facilities in the meantime: SCBA to urge Supreme Court

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has passed a unanimous resolution urging the Chief Justice of India, Justice SA Bobde, and other sitting Judges to cancel the summer vacation this year to compensate for time lost due to Court's restricted functioning during the lockdown imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution passed by the SCBA says that all the lawyers practising in the Supreme Court will give up their summer vacation scheduled for this year, in the interest of distressed litigants. The Association goes on to urge the Court to suspend the vacation in public interest.

The EC resolves to appeal to the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India and his companion Hon'ble Judges to declare cancellation of Summer Vacation as per existing calendar and instead treat the entire period covered under the same as working of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the larger interest of the Litigants and interest of Justice and request them to declare the same at the earliest.
SCBA Resolution

Another pertinent issue raised by the SCBA concerns the hearings conducted via video conferencing by the Supreme Court. The Association has opined that the temporary video conferencing facilities being used at present need improvement.

The Supreme Court of India had been conducting its hearings on matters of extreme urgency by way of video conferencing and the platform designated for the same is Vidyo. Alternatively, hearings have also been taken up via WhatsApp Video Call service on some occasions. The hearings have been marred with various technical glitches and same issue is invoked by the SCBA in its resolution.

In this regard, the SCBA also resolved to adopt better facilities for live streaming of the proceedings and for the implementation of the Court's judgement in the case of Swapnil Tripathi vs Supreme Court of India.

The SCBA says that facilities for video conferencing "by other well known companies or the interactive services being used by the Council of Ministers and officials of the Government on a daily basis" should be used instead of the Vidyo app to facilitate the smooth functioning of video conference hearings.

"It is only if all contesting lawyers, instructing Advocates in Record, and litigants can have simultaneous access to the video-conferenced proceedings, that the same can become an effective system for conducting full-fledged court proceedings on par with those which our judicial system requires should normally be conducted in open courtrooms," the SCBA resolution says.

The Vidyo app, unlike many other platforms used by other Courts or government functionaries, does not support common link use feature for multiple users, thereby restricting the proceedings to one counsel for each party and the Judges. It is in light of the same that an alternative facility is being mulled over by the SCBA.

The SCBA resolution has also urged the Judges of the Supreme Court to bring in fresh measures to gradually restore the functioning of the Court, so as to alleviate the distress caused to litigants.

Read the Resolution:

SCBA Resolution Dated 11.4.2020 Final.pdf.pdf
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