The Bombay Bar Association (BBA) has requested Chief Justice Dipankar Datta of the Bombay High Court to provide a platform for conducting court proceedings on virtual hybrid format on account of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai. A representation regarding the same was sent to Chief Justice (CJ) Datta on March 27 requesting that lawyers should be given an option to appear through video conference so as to safeguard and protect Bar members and public at large.
We hope that this request made pursuant to requests received from a large segment of the Bar will receive urgent and favourable consideration, it added. At the administrative committee meeting which was held on March 19, 2021, the members of the Bar had made a request to consider the "feasibility of virtual and physical court" since COVID-19 cases were on the rise.
The committee deemed it fit to first monitor the situation for 2 weeks considering there would be only seven working days and then revisit the situation. The members raised concerns over the rising crowd in the courtroom and the high density of people attending the Court. The Bar was approached by several members who expressed their concern on the continued physical hearing.
The member submitted that a hybrid system was functioning in the Nagpur, Aurangabad Benches of the Bombay High Court and various other high courts in the country. Even the Supreme Court has opted for an experimental hybrid format for hearing of cases effective from March 15, it was stated.
The representation concluded with a request for audience with the Chief Justice to explain the situation