Supreme Court to begin hybrid physical hearing from March 15th

The top court said that on a pilot basis, the final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, will be heard through hybrid mode.

Created On: Mar 6, 2021 15:02 ISTModified On: Mar 6, 2021 15:03 IST
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has decided to begin a hybrid hearing, both virtual and physical hearings, on an experimental basis from March 15, 2021. 

The top court said that on a pilot basis, the final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, will be heard through hybrid mode.

The physical hearing will take place considering the number of parties in a matter as well as the limited capacity of the courtrooms. All other matters, including the ones listed on Mondays and Fridays, will continue to be heard through video conferencing or teleconferencing mode. 

The apex court, which has been hearing cases through virtual mode since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, issued the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the hybrid physical hearings. Several bar bodies and lawyers have been demanding for physical hearings to resume immediately. 

Hybrid Physical Hearings SOPs: Key Highlights

•  In matters listed for hybrid hearing, all the counsels appearing for one party can appear either through physical presence or through video/teleconferencing. 

•  The advocate-on-record may submit their preferences for appearing before the court either physically or through virtual mode within 24 hours or by 1 pm the next day after the publication of the weekly list of final hearings or regular matters.

•  If the AOR does not opt for any mode then it will be presumed that the counsels seeks to appear through virtual mode and will be facilitated accordingly.

•  In case of matters directed to be listed for hybrid hearing by the bench, if none of the parties opt for physical hearing, the matter will be taken up through virtual mode. 

•  The final hearings/ regular matters where the number of lawyers is higher than the average working capacity of the courtrooms as per Covid-19 norms, which is 20 per courtroom at any given time, shall invariably be listed for hearing through virtual mode unless directed otherwise by the bench.

•  However, in case the bench directs the hearing of such matters is held physically then the appearance of the parties, whether by physical or virtual mode will be facilitated as per the directions of the bench.

•  Under the SOPs issued by the court, if the number of parties is higher than the specified number in a matter listed for hybrid hearing, then one advocate-on-record (AOR) and one arguing counsel per party would be allowed entry.

•  Besides this, one registered clerk per party shall be allowed entry to carry paper-books or journals of lawyers up to the courtrooms.

•  Entry into the high-security zone of the Supreme Court through proximity cards or long-term passes shall be kept suspended till further orders.

•  The entry of counsels/parties or other stakeholders who have to appear inside courtrooms for hybrid hearings will be facilitated through daily 'special hearing passes', which will be issued by the registry on the basis of authorisation by the concerned advocate on record.

•  The entry of parties in a matter will be permitted not earlier than 10 minutes prior to the start of the hearing of the matter.

•  Besides this, the SOPs mandate wearing of masks, frequent use of hand sanitiser and maintaining physical-distancing norms for all entrants into the Supreme Court premises.

•  The advocates/counsels having more than one case for hybrid hearings in the courtrooms will be issued separate special hearing passes for each case. They will be required to wait in the designated waiting area after the hearing of one case is complete. 

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एग्जाम की तैयारी के लिए ऐप पर वीकली टेस्ट लें और दूसरों के साथ प्रतिस्पर्धा करें। डाउनलोड करें करेंट अफेयर्स ऐप

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