The Supreme Court may resume the Physical hearing of cases from September 1 in a restricted manner. According to sources, the physical hearing will take place for the cases that need a lengthy hearing. It will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court will conduct the virtual hearings on Monday and Friday because there are a lot of matters before the judges.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court has been taking virtual hearings of the cases. Numerous representations have been made by the Supreme Court Bar Association, Supreme Court Advocate on Record Bar Association to the Chief Justice for restarting the physical hearings.
In one such hearing with SCAORA office bearers, the Chief Justice informally indicated that the physical hearings shall begin next week.
Even earlier in March 2021, the court began a combination of virtual and physical hearings due to multiple demands by lawyers. But, the system could not continue due to the beginning of the 2nd covid-19 wave in India.
On August 18, the Supreme Court had inferred that it has been taking proceedings and earnings since March 2020. But, it will also resume physical hearings soon.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (Justice N.V Ramana) said that physical learning can begin within 10 days. In July, the SCBA had also written a letter to CJI for resuming Physical cases. It stated that the covid-19 situation has also become “almost normal” facilitating the physical hearings.
The Top court has issued the SOP’s for the Physical hearings of cases beginning on September 1 on Sunday. The circular by the Supreme Court Secretary-general said that the mode of hearing in the court for cases will be decided by the Honourable Bench. The decision will be based on the number of parties in a case and the capacity of the court.
The Physical hearings shall be made on final hearing or regular matter. While the video conferencing of the hearing shall take place through the app Vidyo. In the case of physical hearing, one advocate who files the case or Advocate-on-the-record, nominee, arguing counsel, one junior counsel per party shall only be allowed. They can carry paper, books, journals, etc of the counsels.
According to the Standard operating procedure, the maximum number of advocates per partition allowed for physical learning is 3. If the total number of advocates for the parties in physical learning exceeds more than 20 then the hearing will be conducted virtually.
The advocates-on-record who file petitions shall state their preferred mode. This should be done within 24 hours of the publication of a weekly list for hearings and regular matters. Everyone should follow the covid protocol. They should wear masks, frequently use sanitisers, and maintain physical distance. The high courts have also been allowed to decide on whether they want to resume physical hearings.