SC to decide on resumption of physical hearings after 4 weeks

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said a seven-judge committee will take a call on reopening of regular court functioning after 4 weeks, and ruled out the possibility of any physical hearings now in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that the seven-judge committee of the apex court headed by Justice N V Ramana would consider after four weeks the possibility of resumption of physical hearings in the apex court. Since March 25, the top court has been taking up matters through video conferencing due to the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.

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The top court decided to continue to take up matters through video conferencing after restrictions were lifted. The remarks from the Chief Justice came during the hearing of promotion of SC/ST employees’ matter, where counsel insisted on resumption of physical courts to deal with a large batch of petitions. The top court said the seven-judge committee would examine the issue and then decide what kind of hearings on the cases could happen.

In June, lawyers’ bodies demanded resumption of regular courtroom hearings, but the apex court committee did not agree. The apex court committee said that it will review the situation later bearing in mind the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation. Considering the representations from lawyers’ bodies, the apex court had said that it is not inclined to resume physical courtroom hearings on the cases till June end. The Supreme Court Bar Association, favouring physical court hearings, had said that administration of justice cannot remain virtually closed for an indefinite period.

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