After 17 months, Supreme Court to resume physical hearings with ‘hybrid option’ from September 1
After almost seventeen months of hearing cases through video-conferencing due to COVID-19, the Supreme Court of India has decided to resume physical hearing with the opening of a hybrid option from September 1.
The apex court has asked the lawyers to select between virtual and physical hearings, an official notification said. The physical hearings are to be conducted in adherence with the Standard Operating Procedures while conducting the physical hearing, it added.
"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," said the notification.
In view of the possible third wave of the pandemic, Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana has passed a number of directions with regard to starting physical hearings in a restricted manner clubbing with strictly adhering to the SOPs with respect to COVID protocols.
The order came after the CJI was requested and received many letters from the Bar Associations, lawyers, and on recommendations of the Judges Committee to start physical hearings in a restricted manner, as per the notification.
"Unless otherwise directed by the Bench, final hearing/regular matters where the number of advocates for the parties is more than the average working capacity of the Courtrooms, as per COVID-19 norms, i.e. 20 matters (approx.), per Courtroom at any given time, shall invariably be listed for hearing through video/teleconferencing mode," the notification said.