The Bar Council of India (BCI) has set up four video conferencing rooms, with fully equipped WiFi systems, for the convenience of lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court.
These virtual hearing rooms will be made available for use, free of charge, from May 26.
Through a press release dated 22.05.2020, the BCI has informed that this facility will be accessible to lawyers on a "First Come First Serve" basis, through bookings which must be made at least 36 hours in advance by sending an email on the notified ID.
The BCI will also ensure that 'Computer Friendly Staff' is present in these rooms to assist advocates who may require the same to use this technology.
The entry of lawyers in the BCI premises will be regulated, through issuance of e-passes and only those with these passes will be allowed in. Furthermore, as precautionary measures, a cap has been placed on the number of people being allowed entry, while advocates have been requested to maintain social distancing norms, wear N95 masks and carry sanitizers. Wearing shoes will also not be permitted in these rooms.
It is thus clarified that-
"Only those Advocates/their clerks, who possess e-passes, to be issued by the Office of BCI, which would be emailed to their respective emails, from which the request for booking such facility was generated, (duly signed by the Secretary or an authorized officer) for the particular Day and Time, would be permitted to enter the premises of the BCI."
"Not more than 2 Advocates/Persons will be allowed to enter the premises of Bar Council of India for a particular case, ideally, however, if both sides come for the Video Conferencing in one case, then the total number of persons should not exceed four."
It has further been informed that the BCI is also in the process of setting up a well-equipped Arbitration and Mediation Centre, and expects it to be functional within 5-6 weeks.
The decision, it is stated, pursuant to requests from several advocates facing difficulties in going about their cases in the present scenario.
"The sole object behind this decision is to help the common Advocates, who have no Chambers and/or system or necessary expertise available with them", adds the press release.
Read Press Release