New Delhi: The Supreme Court will begin physical hearing of cases from September 1. A hybrid model of final hearing of some cases will be followed from Tuesday to Thursday amid strict observance of COVID-appropriate norms.
The Secretary General issued a fresh standard operating procedures (SOP) on Saturday, making it clear that the courts will keep hearing miscellaneous cases through virtual mode on Mondays and Fridays.
The apex court has been hearing cases through video-conferencing since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but many bar bodies and lawyers have been asking for physical hearings to resume immediately.
Wearing of mask, frequent use of hand sanitizer and maintaining physical distancing are mandatory for all entrants into Supreme Court premises, including courtrooms.
Once litigants and lawyers opt for the hearing through physical mode, the party concerned won’t any longer have the facility of hearing through video/tele-conferencing.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana took note of the recommendations of Judges’ Committee which was set up to consider representations and requests of bar bodies that physical hearing be resumed keeping in mind financial and technical difficulties faced by many lawyers. The CJI then directed that a fresh SOP be issued.