The Supreme Court will only hear “extremely urgent” cases in the coming week, signalling a near-complete shutdown of the apex court.
New Delhi| The Supreme Court will formally begin on Monday tackling its work through video-conferencing in a bid to further limit human interface and the spread of Covid-19 in the court. A full court meeting has also been called by the CJI to discuss further measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Only one bench will be available, if necessary, to transact judicial work and it will sit on Wednesday, a notification issued by the court said on Sunday.
The decision was taken by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, after consulting his colleagues.
“Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India has, after consulting his colleagues, directed that during the course of the ensuing week, a Bench of two Hon’ble Judges, as may be necessary to hear extremely urgent cases, will be available to transact judicial work”, the notification said.
There will be a facility to conduct hearing through video conferencing. Rooms with requisite facilities for this purpose in the Supreme Court premises will be made available for the convenience of the lawyers.
In a first, the judges and lawyers appearing before them will be in separate rooms. The judges will be sitting in their rooms, while the lawyers will argue from a designated room in the court complex.
Only one such court will sit on Monday comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and the chairman of the e-committee, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, indicating perhaps that the court was testing the efficacy of such an arrangement before implementing it in all courts.
To ensure social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown across multiple parts of India including Delhi, the Supreme Court has announced the closure of all the lawyers’ chambers and said that only important matters would be taken up via videoconferencing.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde ordered the sealing of lawyers’ chambers by tomorrow 5 pm. “There will be no gathering of lawyers on top court premises till further orders,” the apex court said, adding that all proximity cards issued to lawyers will be cancelled. “Only Supreme Court Bar Association president can authorise lawyers to enter court premises for urgent reasons,” it further added.
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