The Supreme Court has released a notification highlighting the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for purposes of effectuating hearings through virtual courts w.e.f July 6.
The Notification states that it has taken into account the suggestions received from various quarters and of the guidelines issued by the GOI & Government of NCT Delhi and is in supersession of its earliers SOP circulars for e-filing, mentioning, listing and hearing of matters through video conferencing/tele-conferencing mode.
It is stated that fresh matters which have been "lying in the pool which could not be listed earlier" may be listed in the week commencing July 6 to July 10.
Miscellaneous matters may be listed on Monday and Friday w.e.f. July 13, subject to availability of matters and subject to directions of the competent authority.
On Non-miscellaneous days, i.e. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, preference will be given to part-heard matters.
The notification also lays down the schedule for Publication of Cause List and timings for sitting of the virtual courts which shall be notified in the respective cause-lists.
Further to this, instructions for purposes of joining video-conferencing hearings for listing matters for Advocates and parties and persons are laid down.
1) The web-link for joining the VC shall be provided to the AOR registered at the time of the AOR code generation and the same shall be provided on the email id or mobile number mentioned at the time of filing of petition.
2) In case a Senior Advocate or an arguing counsel is required to appear in a case, the AOR shall indicate the contact details like name, email id and mobile number of the Senior Counsel or arguing counsel is to be shared on the email id firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Maximum of two appearing links shall be provided per party along with one viewing link.
4) Stable connectivity on devices must be kept in mind by parties.
Mentioning and e-filing procedure is also laid down in the SOPs provided.
"the Advocate-on-Record/Party- in-person is first required to file the petition/miscellaneous application, preferably through the e-filing mode available on the Supreme Court website, as per procedure elaborated at the link https://main.sci.gov.in/php/FAQ/5_6246991526434439183.pdf"
Matters involving urgency shall be dealth with in accordance with the established guidelines on the official website of the Supreme Court of India. Further to this, the notification states that the mentioning application must also clearly contain case details and contact details of the AOR/Party in person.
Additionally, the notification lays down elaborate STEP-BY-STEP instructions for joining VC hearings on the VIDYO app which is hosted on the servers of National Data Centre of National Informatics Centre, GOI in order to equip lawyers to gain easy access and understanding of the VC systems.
Emphasising on the need for strong connectivity with increased bandwidth, the AOR's and parties are informed that a broadband connection of minimum 2 mbps/dedicated 4G data connection is required.
"It may be further noted that smooth functioning of the video-conference is squarely dependent upon and subject to the connectivity [signal- strength/bandwidth] available at the end of the remote user(s), and hence it is expected that any party joining a video-conference hearing shall ensure robust connectivity and bandwidth are available at their end – in this regard, parties may use broadband connection of minimum 2 mbps/dedicated 4G data connection, and may also ensure that no other device or application is connected to or using the bandwidth when the hearing by video-conferencing is progressing on their Vidyo-enabled computer."
Lastly, the notification states that a standard protocol such as "muting of mics" when not arguing and raising of hands must be followed during conduction of hearings.
Click Here To Download Notification