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Home India Supreme Court likely to restart physical hearings soon | India News

Supreme Court likely to restart physical hearings soon | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is likely to resume physical hearings in three to four weeks, the Bar Council of India (BCI) said on Monday after its chairman and other bar leaders met CJI S A Bobde and sought normal functioning of the court, disrupted for nearly a year due to the pandemic.
The meeting was held to chalk out modalities and SOPs to begin a system comprising physical and virtual hearings. The BCI apprised the CJI of difficulties faced by advocates in case of virtual hearings through video-conferencing.
The CJI met BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, solicitor general Tushar Mehta, SC Bar Association leader Kailash Vasdev, leaders of advocates’ on record association and former SCBA president Vikas Singh. “From today’s meeting, it is clear that physical hearings are going to start in the Supreme Court within three to four weeks,” Mishra said in a press release, adding he told the CJI that there could be no substitute to physical hearing.
The SG suggested easing the difficulties faced by advocates in getting petitions listed for hearing by assigning mentioning work to one or two judges. This was supported by the BCI chairperson. The CJI said he would consult other judges on this.
On resumption of physical hearings, the CJI said that he would consult medical experts, assess infrastructure and availability of staff before taking a decision on full-scale resumption of physical hearings. The BCI chairperson said the CJI requested him to “coordinate with senior advocates and other bar associations of the country to make them agreeable to physical hearings”.
The pandemic had seriously affected open court functioning as six SC judges and nearly half the SC staff were infected by coronavirus. However, it continued to dispose of a large number of cases through video-conferencing, which was seen as favouring senior advocates more.
Bar leaders will meet SC secretary general Sanjeev S Kalgaonkar on Wednesday to finalise the SOPs for physical hearings. Meanwhile, senior advocate Vikas Singh had called for protests by advocates within the SC premises for resumption of physical hearings. Scores of advocates were seen holding placards demanding physical hearings.
Singh said the CJI suggested a hybrid mode of hearings for which infrastructure would be upgraded by the SC. “I, on behalf of members of the bar, insisted on immediate resumption of full physical hearings. The CJI did not agree and hence we decided to continue our protest till our demand is met,” he said, adding that he would not agree to hybrid mode of hearings without immediate resumption of physical hearings.

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