#SupremeCourt to shortly hear a challenge by Supreme Court Bar Association to the decision of the top court to limit physical hearings by laying down a hybrid system which allows lawyers the option to appear virtually as well.
#HybridHearing Image
Matter to be taken up after lunch
Senior Adv Vikas Singh: either you follow protocol by government or follow the court's protocol. Govt permits auditorium and ones who want virtual hearing have taken flights to Goa. If you can takena flight for 2 hours you can't argue here?
The #SupremeCourt will also hear another plea today seeking to continue the practice #virtualhearing hearing in the top court "as a matter of right"
Plea says comparison to opening of malls, cinema halls is an "abhorrent" one.
Senior Adv Vikas Singh: last time a lawyer entered appearance even though he is not in this case and was unmuted. This is not correct. I face this problem and when I have to mention I am told only AoR will share links
Justice Kaul: I have minutes of meetings where representatives of the Bar was present. You said no one was consulted. I find it odd that you say there was no consultation

Singh: please let me explain what we mean by consultation. This pandemic has been a dynamic one
Singh: The last Disaster Management notification opened auditoriums. Here either SC will take a call or govt will. We have already written a letter on March 2 stating that we be conducted for SOP. This was after we had a meeting with CJI. This is now where mentioned.
Senior Adv Singh reads the past letters written by him

Singh: Read Clause 2 of SOP.. 20 per courtroom cannot be a uniform number. All Courts are of different sizes. Just see how arbitrary it is. Entry into High Security Zone is set to be kept suspended.
.@vikassinghSrAdv : Judges do not even know what is the stand of the Bar. Bar was not heard while formulating the hybrid hearing SOP.
Singh: Only locker area etc was discussed and not hearings with us. Judges pass through sterile route and sit behind glass and you are protected. But for us , we should make rules.
Singh: CJI had also told me how reverse cameras can be put up in courts to reflect physical arguments to the counsels who appear virtually.
Today there are 200 vc hearings and 20 physical. How do one lawyer manage both. We want full physical hearing as Association
Singh: The unsuccessful lawyers are at a disadvantage. My convenience cannot be taken as the yardstick. Filing of matters have gone below 20 to 25 percent. Some lawyers have left profession and are struggling..
Justice Subhash Reddy: We know the problems of the young lawyers but there needs to be balance. Did you see the graph of COVID-19 cases in newspaper today
Singh: Delhi has 0.5 percent positivity rate. Most of the positive cases are due to people not wearing masks and we will ensure we will wear masks and also sanitize hands. A
Singh: we can meet sanitizer and masks mandatory. People crowd in court some as judges speaks slowly. I could have taken agitation route also but then we thought approach the bench
Singh: I do not wish to wash dirty linen in public and we must keep the issue between us.
Senior Adv Singh: Chennai lawyers can now argue in Supreme Court but there are times when I cannot argue in the #SupremeCourt. We don't want to damage the institution. 10 percent SC lawyers are benefitting. Ashok Arora now says he will go for hunger strike after plea is heard.
Justice Kaul: Whether somebody goes on hunger strike etc will not bother me if I am proceeding correctly. Every Monday Friday we get 35 and 40 matters.
Justice Kaul: You wrote a letter in February and thereafter meetings with the Bar was held. Now you took over after a point of time and now you want a personal hearing for the SOP and then interact with the judges.
Justice Kaul: A beginning has been added. Now whether scheduled hearing should take place or not and other things are experiments which have been done and them again they can be done.
@vikassinghSrAdv : I seek quashing of thr SOP. As the president of the Bar we are not called for meeting for last 16 days. If CJI does not have time to hear me and if my views are not relevant then it's a closed door. Do whatever you want.
Singh: SOP was never placed before is and not even the earlier committee. We can put this on affidavit.

Justice Kaul: Minutes say medical experts were consulted

Singh: For Bihar election even during raging pandemic there was elections.
Singh: Now 2,000 voters cannot opt for physical voting. If this is the case then I have nothing to say. Keep the institution shut

Justice Kaul: If you want to stick to such a stand then so be it. I thought we could arrive to a conclusion.
Justice Kaul: You are also saying that institution will be held to ransom.

Singh: I was told in the morning that Neeraj Kishan Kaul argued in physical court. I said so what, I believe in the bench. See the SOP and how unworkable it is
Singh: Who will decide for us. Not the Bar Association?

Justice Kaul: are you open to discuss the SOP it with the judges. You are reading the SOP like a statute

Singh: it's worse than a statute.
Senior Adv Vikas Singh: Why should you decide on behalf of us. Let us decide our SOP

Justice Subhash Reddy: You cannot say like this. You are the SCBA President. You have a responsibility
Senior Adv Santosh Paul appears for a plea by All India Jurists seeking to continue virtual hearing as a matter of right

Justice Kaul: We have thought of this. Cases can be filed in the same way but appear in virtual set up.
Justice Kaul: We feel a lot of administrative issues can be sorted out by discussions. We have heard the Registrars too. We have some reservations and that can be discussed.
Senior Adv Paul: A fraction of lawyers still appear virtually. Whatever operational issues that can be worked out. We are facing a fluid situation. As far as SOP is concerned we don't have objections, but operational issues can be ironed out
#SupremeCourt ORDER:

Pandemic has thrown its own challenges and one is functioning of the judiciary. Challenges have been faced by Bar & Bench. Steps for normalcy has to be taken up but the question is how and when. Grievances made Senior Adv Vikas Singh that there are...
...many aspects of SOP which needs to to tweaked and some aspects are unworkable. His principal grievance is no consultation has taken place before judges committee and that judges are secure behind the glass partitions...another plea by All India Jurists support the SOP..
....sensibility is to work out a middle path. Present SOP envisage physical hearing on Tue Wed and Thu. Mon and Fri are kept for virtual hearing. We are of the view in the fitness of things that members of bar will be able to iron out difference in perception of SOP...
Appropriate recourse will be to hear new president of the Bar and a consultation with the judges committee. The secy general will fix a meeting with judges committee and matter to be heard next Tuesday

Matter over

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