SC likely to resume physical hearings, asks lawyers for consent

With ease in lockdown restrictions, The Supreme Court is likely to resume physical hearings in its premises soon. It has also sent a notice to lawyers and has asked them to give their consent for this.

For the past two months, the lawyers have been arguing their case virtually. In its recent notice, the Court has asked lawyers whether they wanted to argue their cases virtually or in-person. The hearings will take subject to availability of the bench, and by maintaining all necessary safety precautions along with social distancing.

Two days ago, the SC Advocates-on-Record Association had urged the Chief Justice of India and all other apex court judges to resume physical court hearings from July 2020. In addition, the Bar Council of India and a group of lawyers had also raised the same request before the SC.

In a letter written to judges, the association had said that 95% of lawyers weren’t comfortable with virtual court hearings as glitches in audio and video quality didn’t allow them to effectively put forth their arguments. The letter stated that in cases that involved several parties and many lawyers, not all lawyers got a chance to speak.

It also highlighted severe financial problems faced by lawyers during the lockdown due to staggered working of courts for the past three months. It asserted that many lawyers weren’t well equipped with computers and were unable to participate in the process effectively. It also pointed out that lawyers outside Delhi-NCR, who are currently residing in their respective hometowns do not have access to their files.

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