The Supreme Court on Thursday stated that the absence of having physical courts is tough to justify at a time when colleges, malls and metro rail have opened.
Not discovering senior attorneys coming to the Supreme Court regardless of customary working process (SOP) put in place to allow hybrid listening to (physical and digital listening to) of circumstances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, two separate benches of the Supreme Court expressed their angst with one saying in a lighter vein that “mandamus (order) needs to be issued to enforce physical presence of lawyers” whereas one other bench giving precedence for itemizing of case for these attorneys who agreed to seem bodily.
The bench of justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose stated, “Schools are open, malls are open, and the Metro rail is open. How do you justify that only the Supreme Court is not open. How do you justify that you will go to the market but not come to the Court. We (judges) are coming every day to court.”
The bench went on to put up two issues on September 23 and 30 asking attorneys showing within the case to seem bodily. “Most of the regular matters listed before us are lengthy matters that require physical arguments. We are also missing seeing lawyers face to face. We will be there to welcome you openly. Even the lighter moments during arguments are missing during virtual hearing,” the bench remarked.
Earlier within the day, one other bench of the Supreme Court felt that attorneys ought to start to come to courtroom. A bench of justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari stated, “It seems we have to issue a writ of mandamus to ensure lawyers appear in court.”
The comment evoked frank responses from three senior attorneys – Dushyant Dave, Ranjit Kumar and C Aryama Sundaram, who had their very own causes to keep away from coming to courtroom. Dave, a former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association was candid in stating that the SOP issued by Supreme Court for starting hybrid listening to from September 1 was handed with out consulting attorneys.
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“The registry of the Supreme Court has issued the SOP ex-parte (without hearing the other side). They should have consulted the Bar. We too are anxious to attend the court,” Dave stated.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar was forthright to expose the lacunae within the SOP that required attorneys to acquire a Special Entry go for every case, wait within the library and enter courtroom simply earlier than the case listening to after following the protection processes required due to Covid-19. Physical listening to was restricted to solely 20 individuals at a given time.
“We are missing the courts as sitting on the chair all day long is not a good feeling. But if I have three matters in the Supreme Court, I cannot go without taking three separate passes and the accompanying permissions,” Kumar stated. He added that not all courts are open to physical listening to. “Some courts have specifically mentioned that they don’t want physical hearing,” Kumar instructed the courtroom.
Echoing the issues of the Bar, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President and senior advocate Vikas Singh stated, “I had predicted that this would happen as the SOP creates many restrictions on movement of lawyers within the high security zone of the Supreme Court.”
The SCBA – having 13,000 attorneys as its members –wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on August 30 stating, “The SOP is a non-starter as our members would not like to take the option for physical hearing with so many conditions attached.” The SCBA has been in favour of a wider opening up within the courtroom citing that the state of affairs is conducive with Covid positivity rate dropping to as little as 0.04%.
SCBA president stated they are but to hear from the CJI on its letter. “It is absurd how the Supreme Court has gone about hybrid hearing without discussing with us. Had this SOP been shown to us before, we would have outrightly rejected it. They have not even responded to our letter,” Singh stated.
There are attorneys who’ve most popular to seem by means of digital courtroom proceedings for security issues and within the curiosity of aged and sick mother and father at dwelling.
Senior advocate C Aryama Sundaram showing earlier than the bench headed by justice Nazeer stated, “We all are anxious to see you physically, but it is not the courts but the corridors, the entry/exit gates that we fear.” The lawyer was referring to the truth that whereas courtrooms are to be sanitised underneath the SOP, there isn’t any corresponding provision for different areas utilized by attorneys. Senior lawyer Meenakshi Arora knowledgeable the courtroom that she most popular digital listening to as she had aged mother and father at dwelling.
The SCBA had begun vaccination drive for its members in March and by now, most attorneys have acquired each doses of the vaccine. The judges and workers of the Supreme Court have additionally been vaccinated.