Physical hearings to resume at Supreme Court on 2 days in a week from October 20

Published on Oct 07, 2021 11:41 PM IST

Three lawyers per party shall be permitted to appear before the judges and entry into the high security zone of the Court will be by way of proximity cards already issued to lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court. Litigants who have to appear shall be issued photo identity cards by the Supreme Court Registry near the entry gates.

The Supreme Court will begin physical hearing of cases on Wednesdays and Thursdays from October 20 while continuing with the earlier arrangement of having hybrid hearings on Tuesdays and virtual hearing of cases on Mondays and Fridays. (ANI PHOTO.)
The Supreme Court will begin physical hearing of cases on Wednesdays and Thursdays from October 20 while continuing with the earlier arrangement of having hybrid hearings on Tuesdays and virtual hearing of cases on Mondays and Fridays. (ANI PHOTO.)
ByAbraham Thomas

The Supreme Court will begin physical hearing of cases on Wednesdays and Thursdays from October 20 while continuing with the earlier arrangement of having hybrid hearings on Tuesdays and hearing of cases on Mondays and Fridays strictly through videoconferencing/teleconferencing.

The decision taken on Thursday was released by the Supreme Court Registry on the official website of the Court. As per the new arrangement, Thursday’s circular said, “In view of the encouraging response from the Bar and with a view to further facilitate hearing through physical mode, all the matters listed on Wednesday and Thursday, as non-miscellaneous days, would be heard only in physical presence of the counsels/parties in Court-rooms.”

Even on such days, if the judge presiding in a courtroom feels that in a particular matter, the number of lawyers is more than the working capacity of the courtroom as per Covid-19 norms, the hearing of such matters shall be facilitated through video/teleconferencing/hybrid mode.

For hearing on Tuesdays, the new rules said, “All the matters listed on Tuesday, as a non-miscellaneous day, would also be heard in physical mode; however, on prior application by the lawyer for the party, appearance through video/tele-conferencing mode will be facilitated.” The lawyer will have to apply for the link by 1.00 p.m. on the previous working day.

Three lawyers per party shall be permitted to appear before the judges and entry into the high security zone of the Court will be by way of proximity cards already issued to lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court. Litigants who have to appear shall be issued photo identity cards by the Supreme Court Registry near the entry gates. Every party will be allowed to have one clerk for carrying the files, books and law journals.

The new rules marked a departure from the earlier standard operating procedure (SOP) issued on August 28 when the Court allowed hybrid (physical and virtual) hearing for interested lawyers/litigants. However, the SOP attracted dissent from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) as a non-starter as the SCBA President senior advocate Vikas Singh demanded full-fledged physical hearing. He also opposed the rules requiring lawyers to get a Special Hearing pass made and demanded that proximity cards alone should be allowed for facilitating entry of lawyers.

All persons entering the court will have to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and undergo thermal check and other Covid-19 protocols, the new circular stated.

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