The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association to encourage members of the Bar to come to Court for physical hearings. A Bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Nageswara Rao, and Justice Surya Kant expressed disappointment at lawyers turning up to Court for physical hearings in fewer numbers, after the resumption of physical hearing of cases in Supreme Court with a hybrid option, from September 1, 2021.
The Bench also indicated that once the lawyers start coming to Court for hearings, the issues related to the Standard Operating Procedures can be sorted out. The Bench made the observations while considering its Suo Motu case regarding the extension of the limitation period due to the Covid pandemic. The Bench indicated that it will recall its suo motu order of April 27, 2021, which had extended with effect from March 14, 2021, the limitation period for filing of cases in view of the COVID second wave.
Advocate Shivaji Jadhav appearing for the Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association made a request that the Suo moto extension of limitation order is extended till the end of this year considering the possibility of a third wave of the pandemic. The Chief Justice of India was referring to insistence on the resumption of physical Court hearings on multiple occasions by Senior Advocate Vikas Singh as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
"We have lawyers coming in trickles. We have 2 lawyers coming in every day why can't others come?" Justice Nageswara Rao said. In response to Mr. Vikas Singh's statement regarding the Standard Operating Procedure issued by the top Court for hybrid hearings, CJI Ramana said "Mr. Singh what SOP! If they want to come, they'll come. You encourage your members of the Bar to try to come physically, let them come, we are trying, we will consider the SOP and everything no issue” “Let all courts start physically, don't give the option to lawyers." Mr. Jadhav on Behalf of SCAORA said.
After more than a year of virtual functioning, the Supreme Court of India recently resumed physical hearing of cases, with a hybrid option, from September 1, 2021. The SCBA had however decided to not accept the said SOP as it was prepared without taking into confidence the Bar, despite the assurance given to them by CJI Bobde in the meeting held on March 1st, 2021. A plea was also moved before the Court seeking quashing of the SOP issued by Supreme Court's Registry on hybrid hearings, claiming that the impugned SOP had been issued "unilaterally" by the Registry,
Case Title: In Re Cognisance For Extension Of Limitation