SC Issues Fresh SOP For Resumption Of Physical Hearing From Sept 1

The Supreme Court (SC) issued fresh standard operating procedures to accord final hearing of cases in physical mode from September 1.

The apex court will also employ a hybrid option from Tuesday to Thursday amid strict observance of Covid protocols.

The top court has been hearing cases through video-conferencing since March last year due to the pandemic.

The SOP, issued by the Secretary-General during the weekend made it clear that the courts would keep hearing miscellaneous cases through virtual mode on Mondays and Fridays.

Wearing of masks, frequent use of hand sanitiser, and maintaining physical distancing norms are mandatory for all entrants into the Supreme Court premises, including into the Courtrooms, the SOP said. The procedures mandated that once litigants and the lawyers opt for the hearing through physical mode then hearing through video/tele-conferencing mode to the party concerned will not be facilitated, the order read.

The SOP has been issued on the directions of Chief Justice N V Ramana who took note of the recommendations of the Judges’ Committee set up earlier to consider representations and requests of bar bodies that the hearing through physical mode be started keeping in mind the financial and technical difficulties being faced by many lawyers. With a view to gradually facilitate the resumption of the physical hearing, the final hearing/regular matters listed on non-miscellaneous days may be heard in the physical mode (with hybrid option), as may be decided by the Bench, considering the number of parties in a matter as well as the limited capacity of the Courtrooms; further, any other matter may be heard in physical mode on such days, if Bench directs likewise.

All other matters, including those listed on miscellaneous days, shall continue to be heard through video/teleconferencing mode, it said.

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