SC issues fresh SoP for physical hearings from Sep 1

Supreme Court issues fresh SoP for physical hearings from September 1

The SoP said the decision to conduct hearing in physical form may be taken by the bench concerned

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

After a gap of 17 months, the Supreme Court has decided to begin physical hearings of cases from September one in limited form, while continuing to conduct proceedings along through virtual mode.

In order to gradually facilitate the resumption of the physical hearing, the final hearing or regular matters listed on non-miscellaneous days (other than Mondays and Fridays) may be heard in the physical mode, with hybrid option, a senior official said.

A fresh set of standard operating procedures (SOP) was issued by the Supreme Court for the final hearing of cases in physical mode. The top court has been conducting hearing through virtual mode since March 2020 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, lawyers associations have time and again demanded resumption of physical hearings in view of hardships faced by junior counsel.

The SoP said the decision to conduct hearing in physical form may be taken by the bench concerned, considering the number of parties in a matter as well as the limited capacity of the courtrooms, he added.

"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 added.

According to the SoP, Advocates-on-record are required to register themselves on the top court's portal and submit their preferences for appearing before the court concerned either through physical mode or through video/teleconferencing mode.

 

The SOP stated that in a matter listed for physical hearing, one AoR (or his nominee), one arguing counsel and one junior counsel per party will be allowed entry; one registered clerk per party, as may be chosen by the AoR, shall be allowed entry to carry paper books /journals, etc of the counsel up to the courtrooms.

The SOP further added that once hearing through physical mode is opted by the AoR or petitioner-in-person, hearing through video/teleconferencing mode to the party concerned will not be facilitated.

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