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Welcome back: SC tells advocates on resumption of physical hearing

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New Delhi, Oct 21, 2021 – Supreme Court judges on Thursday said they are happy to see lawyers appearing before the court for physical hearing.

Justice DY Chandrachud told lawyers in the courtroom: “We are happy to see you all.”

He said that it was not a pleasant experience to look into the screen every day in the backdrop of an empty courtroom.

The top court had gone virtual since the beginning of the lockdown, to control the spread of Covid-19, in March 2020.

Similarly, many other judges expressed their happiness on resumption of physical hearing in a limited manner.

Scores of lawyers thronged to the top court to argue in their respective matter, and formed long queues to enter the court premises.

During court proceedings, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said the court may ramp up physical hearings after the Diwali break.

The chief justice made this remark in response to senior advocates Rakesh Dwivedi and Ranjit Kumar, thanking him for resuming physical hearing of cases.

Justice Ramana said: “After Diwali, we may start it on a larger scale.”

The top court has resumed physical hearing of cases twice a week — Wednesday and Thursday — during non-miscellaneous days. It will continue to take matters virtually on Monday and Friday, and on Tuesday, advocates can choose either physical hearing or virtual hearing.

Senior lawyers on Wednesday had expressed a difference of opinion on the top court’s decision to resume physical hearing two days a week. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was supported by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, said lawyers should not be forced to appear physically, which was vehemently opposed by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Vikas Singh.

Sibal told chief justice NV Ramana that physical presence of advocates must be made optional in the backdrop of the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Justice Ramana replied that the court was forced to resume physical hearing due to several requests from SCBA and other lawyers’ associations.  (Agency)

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