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The Supreme Court of India has recently effected a couple of changes to its rules through an amendment called the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2019.
Among the changes is the introduction of Single Judge Benches at the Supreme Court, for certain matters.
Currently, Order VI, Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 states that matters shall be heard by a Bench of not less than two judges. But now, the following matters may be heard by Single Judge Benches:
(i) Special leave petitions arising out of grant, dismissal or rejection of Bail Application or Anticipatory Bail Application in the matters filed against the order passed under section 437, section 438 or section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) involving the offences punishable with sentence up to seven years imprisonment;
(ii) Applications for transfer of cases under section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974);
(iii) Application of an urgent nature for transfer of cases under section 25 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908);
(iv) Any other category of cases notified by the Chief Justice from time to time, which may be heard and disposed of finally by a Judge sitting singly nominated by him
A minor change has been made to Order IV, which deals with appearance of advocates. Currently, petitioners in jail or parties-in-person are required to file an application seeking permission to argue in person and have an interaction with the Registrar. A proviso has been added stating:
“Provided further that whenever an advocate whose name is entered on the rolls of any State Bar Council maintained under the Advocates Act, 1961 (25 of 1961) wants to appear and argue the case in person, he shall be exempted from the requirement of interaction by the concerned Registrar.”
An amendment has also been made to Order XIII, Rule 3, which provides that Advocates-on-Record and parties in person can apply for certified copies of filings and judgments. Through the amendment, an advocate who argued the case or an advocate authorised by the AoR in the case can apply for certified copies.
Certain Rules have been amended ostensibly with a view to reducing the usage of paper through filings etc.
Order XX, Rule 5, which deals with registration of criminal appeals, will have a new sub-rule (3) that reads: