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Supreme Court Seven-Judge committee decides to resume physical court hearing on experimental basis

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Justice Ramana has asked the court officials to prepare three big courtrooms for physical hearing

The Supreme Court will start physical resumption of court hearing on an experimental basis. In a meeting, the Seven-Judge committee headed by Justice N.V. Ramana has asked the court officials to prepare three big courtrooms ready for physical hearing on an experimental basis as a pilot scheme within one week.

The Registry of the Supreme Court of India has written to the President of Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association informing about the decision made in a meeting held on August 11 among Judges of the Committee with regards to the resumption of physical hearing of cases in the Court Rooms.

The letter stated that 3 amongst the bigger Court Rooms maybe got prepared for the physical hearing on an experimental basis as a pilot scheme while strictly adhering to the prescribed distancing and other norms as per medical advice.

A limited number of cases may be listed for physical hearing in these Court Rooms subject to the decision of the Competent Authority upon prior consent of all parties in writing on an experimental basis after 10 days.

The committee further suggested that the numbers of the cases listed may be gradually increased if the ground situation so warrants and permits.

The letter further stated that all the matters including miscellaneous matters listed on Mondays and Fridays will continue to be heard through Video Conferencing as per the current existing Standard Operating Procedure till further orders.

“Considering the vulnerability, in medical terms, of some stake-holders and their family members to the COVID-19 infection, particularly in the absence of a preventive vaccine or medicine/ procedures to mitigate cure or overcome the disease resulting from such infection, it has been recommended that requests from stake-holders for exemption from participation in any such limited physical hearing inside the Court Rooms may be considered favorably,” the letter stated.

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The letter clarified that the recommendations mentioned relate only to the requests and suggestions received in respect of the functioning of the Supreme Court and such recommendations shall not apply in respect of any other Court, Tribunal, or adjudicatory authority in India.

-India Legal Bureau

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