Four advocates filed a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s decision of resuming physical hearing before itself and subordinate courts in Delhi, with effect from January 18.
The order makes it mandatory for the advocates to attend the physical hearings without giving them the choice to appear through virtual mode.
The plea is filed by the advocates Kartik Nayar, Nancy Roy, Sanchit Jolly and Amit Bhagat, challenging the order of the Registrar General of the Delhi HC dated 14.01.2021 which has instructed the Principal District & Sessions Judges and the Principal Judge, Family Court to start physical hearings on alternate days basis from 18.01.2020. The Court shall hear matters through video conferencing on non physical days.
The plea stated that this order is violating the personal as well as fundamental rights of the lawyers and other legal persons appearing before the Courts.
The health and well-being of the lawyers, clerks, court staff, support staff, the judges, and litigants is not taken into consideration by the Delhi HC and is infringing the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 & 21 of the Constitution of India, the plea added.
It is urged that there is still alarming rise in the reported cases of Covid-19 in the national Capital, around 15,000-20,000 new cases are still being reported every-day and in no way the intensity of spread of Covid-19 has declined in any manner whatsoever.
Moreover, the Hon’ble Court has failed to take into consideration the advocates travelling from outside of Delhi, the new strain (mutant UK variant of Covid-19), working and single mothers/fathers, and the subordinate courts wherein the court rooms are too congested and function without having any glass shields/panels to separate the judges and the advocates and/or the advocates of each side from getting infected, the plea stated.
In the plea, a demand was put forward for the hybrid system wherein the advocates can choose to appear either virtually or in person, in consonance with their and their families' health and well-being concerns.