New Delhi, Mar 23: The Supreme Court on Monday said that urgent cases would be taken up for hearing and it would be done through video-conferencing, to ensure that the litigants, the Supreme Court staff and lawyers are not infected by coronavirus. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, was hearing the arguments made by president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Dushyant Dave.
Justice Bobde said the situation is very bad and this court should immediately go on a holiday, seeing the gravity and scare of the COVID-19 pandemic. Modalities of how the video-conferencing would have to be done, are being worked out at present, Justice Bobde observed.
“We will announce how to download links for adding to video call. We are working out a system, where lawyers will be allowed to address us from their homes. We shall soon let you know. We will give you a link. You sit wherever and talk to us,” said the CJI. The apex court on Monday cancelled the entry of proximity cardholders of lawyers on the SC premises.
The SCBA will have to certify, which lawyers will come inside the court premises for hearing through video-conferencing, the apex court said. To this, Dave said, “We need to provide sanitisation for the SCBA office staff, which will come in.” The CJI suggested the SC lawyers to either seal or shut down the chambers, stating that the staff for cleaning the chambers cannot come in. The benches will not be sitting in the court, Justice Bobde observed. According to Dave, “The clients are pressuring the advocates for hearing. People are extremely frustrated today. If the court can close for four weeks, we can work during the regular June vacations.” The CJI said, “It is only a matter of nomenclature. Whether we call it a vacation or shutdown.” (UNI)