Virtual Hearing: SC Issues New Standard Operation Procedure For Lawyers And Party-in-Persons [Read Guidelines]

Nilashish Chaudhary

17 May 2020 8:44 AM GMT

  • Virtual Hearing: SC Issues New Standard Operation Procedure For Lawyers And Party-in-Persons [Read Guidelines]

    The Supreme Court of India has introduced and directed the implementation of a new Standard Operating Procedure for advocates and parties appearing in person to ease the process of e-filing, mentioning, listing and hearing of matters through video conferencing for the duration of the summer vacations i.e. 18th May 2020 to 19th June 2020. The fresh guidelines have come as a replacement...

    The Supreme Court of India has introduced and directed the implementation of a new Standard Operating Procedure for advocates and parties appearing in person to ease the process of e-filing, mentioning, listing and hearing of matters through video conferencing for the duration of the summer vacations i.e. 18th May 2020 to 19th June 2020. The fresh guidelines have come as a replacement of those that were put in place via circulars dated 23rd March 2020, 26th March 2020 and 17th April, 2020 reiterating and further elaborating the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for e-filing, mentioning, listing and hearing of matters through video conferencing/tele-conferencing that was already in place.

    As per the new SOP, fresh matters that could not be listed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic will be listed for hearing before the Hon'ble Virtual Court. In addition to that short matters will be listed for hearing after, the pool of fresh matters is exhausted. Any other matters as directed may also be listed as well. A schedule of publication of the cause list has been put in place with each cause list notifying the time at which the respective Hon'ble Virtual Courts will be sitting.

    For the purpose of joining video-conferencing/ tele-conferencing for hearing of listed matters, the Advocate-on-Record/Party-in-Person has specify as to whether he would link to the Hon'ble Bench through own Desktop/Laptop Computer or would prefer to avail the facility for video-conferencing in the Supreme Court premises. The web-link for joining the video-conference shall be provided to the Advocate-on-Record registered at the time of the AOR Code Generation whereas for a Party-in-Person the weblink shall be provided on the e-mail id and/or mobile number mentioned at the time of filing the petition. In the event an Advocate-on-Record requires a Senior Advocate or an arguing counsel to appear and conduct the hearing and/or a litigant to view the proceedings, the concerned Advocate-on-Record shall indicate the contact details like name, e-mail id and mobile number of the Senior Advocate/Arguing Counsel and the litigant through e-mail on the e-mail id

    In matters of urgency, the Advocate-on-Record/ Party-in-person shall file the petition/ miscellaneous application, preferably through the e-filing mode available on the Supreme Court website, as per procedure elaborated at the link 

    Upon completion of all the formalities and upon due registration, the Advocate-on-Record/ Party-in-person is permitted to send separately the signed and verified mentioning-application containing a synopsis of urgency not exceeding one page. The mentioning-application shall be submitted only by e-mail at the email address Mentioning applications received by 2 PM on a particular day shall be processed for listing in the cause-list to be published immediately thereafter, as per the afore-mentioned schedule, subject to availability of the concerned Bench and approval of the Competent Authority. The mentioning-applications received thereafter would be processed for listing in the cause list on the next scheduled day of publishing of the cause-list. Matters involving extreme urgency shall be dealt with in accordance with the established guidelines already published on the official website of the Apex Court at the link

    At present, the matters shall be heard by the Hon'ble Bench through web-based video-conferencing system on the VIDYO platform hosted on the servers of National Data Centre of National Informatics Centre, Govt. of India and in case the video conferencing is not functional, through tele-conferencing. The 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.

    For ease-of-use, the following Standard Operating Procedure in respect of hearing of cases through video-conferencing mode has been implemented:

    1. To join video conferencing on VIDYO platform, parties are required to download VIDYO DESKTOP application from the site on their laptop or desktop on any compatible operating system.

    2. Similarly, parties may join the video conferencing on VIDYO platform by downloading the VIDYO MOBILE application in a compatible mobile device (phone or tablet) either from Google Play Store (Android device) or from  Apple APP Store(iOS device), on the same mobile number as mentioned in their contact-details in mentioning-application;

    3. The Invitation Link for appearance and viewing, as the case may be, will be sent by the Registry to the given mobile no(s)/e-mail id(s) by SMS/e-mail/WhatsApp around half-an-hour before the scheduled hearing, and parties may kindly note that each of the link so sent to any device is required to be unique and hence, parties may not share or forward such link(s) to any other device nor shall they enable others to join the hearing through videoconference;

    4. The party concerned will be advised to click on the link provided, as received on their computer (preferable) or mobile device, upon which a window to join the conference open, the party is required to click on the "Join Conference" button;

    5. Upon clicking the "Join Conference" button, a 'VIDYO' display window shall open, prompting the party to enter the display name before clicking "Join" button; the party is required to write his/her name with designation by prefixing item no.(of the cause list) in the space given, as the case may be, and thereafter the party is required to click on the 'JOIN" button;

    6. After having clicked on the 'JOIN' button, the party would join other parties in a virtual waiting room, and parties would be required to wait patiently for being joined to the virtual Court room for their respective hearing;

    7. Upon being joined to the virtual Court room, arguing counsel shall introduce himself to the Hon'ble Bench and thereafter, shall wait for the instructions from Hon'ble Bench – on being asked, party may make submissions and on completion of the submissions, shall at once 'mute' the MIC of the respective device, if the Hon'ble Bench requires the party to make further submission(s), the party may then 'unmute' the MIC of the device and again, on completion of the submission, put the MIC on 'mute' mode;

    8. It is important for parties to remember to keep their MIC on 'mute' at all times, except when the Hon'ble Bench requires them to make submission(s); thus, when one party is making submissions, it is imperative that all other participants shall keep their respective MIC muted failing which the possibility of MIC catching audio feed from the speakers and creating `echo/noise disturbance' would become very high and may disturb the video-conference;

    9. It may be noted that simultaneous submissions by more than one party at any given time should be avoided and each party may indicate requirement to speak/submit by asking for permission from Hon'ble Bench, by raising a hand. Once permitted by the Hon'ble Bench, the party shall first 'unmute' the MIC and thereafter make submissions, as per clause 8 above.

    10. During hearing through video-conferencing, the parties may kindly keep in mind that they are participating in COURT PROCEEDINGS, and hence it is expected that they would not resort to any indecorous conduct or dress or comment; further, parties are required to ensure that the proceedings by videoconference are neither recorded/stored nor broadcast, in any manner whatsoever, as recording/copying/storing and/or broadcasting, by any means, of the hearings and proceedings before the Supreme Court of India are expressly prohibited;

    11. Parties are required to stay online till Hon'ble Bench concludes the hearing of their matter, whereafter the parties may disconnect from video-conference;

    12. Upon publication of the cause-list, the Registry may call any party and require to test the device or its connectivity, and every such party is required to cooperate with such staff/official and abide by the instructions given, so that the hearing by videoconference may be smoothly conducted;

    13. After publication of cause list, a WhatsApp group may be created by the Registry before the hearing of the matters where the participants may raise any query related to video conferencing. That apart, the parties may contact Helpline Telephone Number 1881.

    14. In case of non-availability/technical issue in connecting the video conferencing for hearing, the parties may be joined through tele-conferencing through landline/mobile phone.

    15. It would be obligatory upon the AOR/ Arguing Counsel/ Party in-Person to keep their phone(s) available for incoming calls for joining them in the tele-conferencing.

    Click Here To Download Guidelines

    [Read Guidelines]

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