A joint Resolution by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) & Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) has been passed on Monday to examine and discuss systems, methods and suggestions to reopen the Courts, and in particular the Supreme Court of India, which has been working on restrictedly.
This Resolution, signed under the hand of Rohit Pandey, Secretary SCBA & Joseph Aristotle, Secretary SCAORA has been annexed to the Chief Justice of India today.
The resolution passed jointly by both bodies highlights "severely constrained" functioning of Courts in Virtual Capacity due to the the Coronavirus induced pandemic situation.
In this backdrop, the Resolution has put forth suggestions while taking into account, the problems faced by lawyers due to virtual functioning of courts which range from being uncomfortable while appearing over VC and inability to present their case due to muting of mic or problems with audio and video quality and issues of lack of "Access to Justice" which is an essential service and.
The Resolution thus states that while problems and issues were highlighted to the Supreme Court, none of these were paid heed to and no response for came in.
Thus, it states that after considering these issues, the members unanimously resolved that:
1) Resumption Of Physical Hearings Imperative: Resumption of Court hearings of all class of matters is imperative and "the hearings should be conducted inside court hall with Advocates presenting their case. Initially hearing can be hybrid i.e. both online and in the physical presence of the Judges and the Advocates"
2) Hybrid System For hearings: Effectuating physical hearings and functioning of the Supreme court in a phased and regulated manner, wherein physical functioning can be resumed for hearing fresh, admission, after notice, Part-heard, Regular Matters, Final Disposal, Batch and such other matters which are voluminous in nature and/or involve the appearance of a large number of lawyers and virtual hearings can continue in chamber matters and registrar matters;
3) Frame Guidelines: Proper guidelines after talking due precautions from committee of Doctors can be formulated for maintaining social distancing;
4) Restrictions in entry: Entry for only those lawyers who's matters are listed;
5) Request Hon'ble Chief Justice SA Bobde to meet Presidents and other Office Bearers of both bodies to work out modalities;
6) Start dialogues between CJI & Concerned Committees of Hon'ble Judges to immediately address issues affecting functioning of Court for upgradation of Virtual hearing system to "better platform";
7) The Resolution be sent to the CJI.
In light of this, the Resolution states that it shall meet in one week to discuss further course of Action.