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Supreme Court disposes of SCBA plea challenging SOP for hybrid hearings, says administrative issue

The Apex Court had also heard a plea by All India Association of Jurists highlighting the option given to lawyers to appear before the court through video conferencing should be continued even after the court resumes physical hearing.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of the plea filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) challenging the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) put in place for hybrid hearings in the Court.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy said, “The matter relates to the administrative working of the Court. Issues have to be ironed out at the Bar…We are of the opinion that on the judicial side, little can be done on this aspect.”

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, also the SCBA President, objected to the order and said, “We have no choice but to take the agitational path.” The Counsel appearing for various parties asked the Court to reconsider its order.

In the petition, the SCBA claimed that the SOP for hybrid physical hearings was issued by the Registry of the Supreme Court without consultation with the Bar and if virtual hearings are allowed to continue permanently, it will disturb the  profession by allowing lawyers to argue from territories where the members of SCBA do not have opportunity to argue.

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The Apex Court had also heard a plea by All India Association of Jurists, a Chennai-based organisation of lawyers, highlighting that the option given to lawyers/litigants to appear before the Apex Court through video conferencing should be continued even after the Court resumes physical hearing.

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