Senior Advocate urges CJI Bobde: Amend SC rules For Allowing Compulsory Video Conference Hearings Post Lockdown [Read letter]

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On Sunday, Former President of SCBA, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh wrote a letter to the CJI SA Bobde proposing series of measures to decongest the Apex Court premises.

He called for compulsory video conference hearings for bail matters, transfer petitions, matrimonial matters, service matters involving a single emplyee, matters of Petitoner-in-person (other than PIL) and all other similar matters as well as Chamber matters and the matters before the Registrars.

He further stated that till the time Supreme Court rules are not amended, the abovestated suggestions can be implemented by an administrative order in view of current situation prevailing in India. 

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh in his letter has proposed the following suggestions:

  • Compulsory Video Conference hearing should be provided for hearing bail matters, transfer petitions, matrimonial matters, service matters involving a single employee, matters of petitioners-in-person (other than PIL) and all other similar matters, as well as Chamber matters and the matters before the Registrars.
  • Voluntary Video Conference hearing should be allowed in all (other) matters.
  • The matter may be taken for hearing through Video conferencing mode at the ex parte stage. However, if there is a caveat, such Video Conferencing should only be permitted with the consent of the caveator, in case of the first hearing and with the consent of respondents in case of hearing after notice.
  • This arrangement can be implemented by administrative order until the Supreme Court Rules are amended.

For the Purpose of implementing the above, the following measures were suggested:

  • Conversion of the round annexe building in front of Court no. 12 into cubicles with Computer Terminals, having LAN connectivity with the chambers of judges who would sit for the video conferencing.
  • This would also allow practicing lawyers of the Supreme Court to use Video conferencing facilities even while attending to other matters listed in other courts which are not being taken up through video conferencing.
  • This will also permit briefing/assisting lawyers and the client to be present during the video conferencing hearing. Persons-to-person contact during such hearing would be minimal.
  • The area remaining vacant in the annexe building should be converted into a library so that lawyers can wait there while their matters are yet to reach in Video conference mode.

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It was further mentioned that until the infrastructure for these measures is created, the wifi facility in the Supreme Court corridor may be upgraded so that practicing advocates in the Supreme Court can appear for video conference hearings from their layouts while in one of the available libraries/conference rooms or anywhere convenient.The Courts on a regular basis should also allow the system of the Court rising for at least 15 minutes after finishing half the matters listed on that date on Miscellaneous Days, so that the lawyers appearing in the second half need not crowd the Court till the matters of the first half are being considered, the letter adds.

Read Letter here:

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