Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 1
Functioning only in the virtual mode since March last year, the Supreme Court is planning to shift to physical hearing in a hybrid manner as the health hazards posed by COVID-19 pandemic were not completely ruled out.
Amid protest by several advocates demanding resumption of full physical hearing in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Monday told the bar leaders on Monday that physical hearing in hybrid mode was on the cards, Bar Council of India (BCI) Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said.
The issue was discussed in a meeting the CJI had with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, bar leaders, including Mishra, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) officer bearers, Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association leaders and senior advocate and former SCBA President Vikas Singh.
“The Chief Justice of India made it clear that the judges of the Supreme Court themselves are willing to restart the open court hearings but there are medical and technical issues which the registry of the Supreme Court of India is trying to sort out and solve. Therefore, it will be done gradually,” a BCI release stated.
However, Vikas Singh — who has been protesting to demand immediate resumption of physical hearing – said, “I on behalf of the members of the Bar insisted on full physical hearing as before and that too immediately. The CJI did not agree and hence we have decided to continue our protest till our demand is met.”
He said hybrid mode could have been an option if implemented today but agreeing to Hybrid without restoration of normal functioning was not acceptable.
Mishra said, “The secretary general (of the apex court) was asked by Justice Bobde to get the technical problems solved at the earliest so that courts could resume its functioning physically from the first week of March 2021.”