After almost a year since the lockdown due to COVID 19 pandemic, the Supreme Court shall start hybrid physical hearing from March 15. It has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for hybrid physical hearing where parties can choose the mode of appearance for attending matters listed before the Apex Court.
The counsels for any given case has to login on (https://registry.sci.gov.in/court/hearings/hybrid_physical_hearing/) where they have to register themselves through e-Nomination for Hybrid Physical Hearing.
According to the SOP, the AOR has the option to choose the mode of hearing for matters listed before the Supreme Court. AOR has to register first on the E-Nomination portal of counsels/ clerks for Hybrid Hearing. Then, AOR first needs to opt for mode of physical hearing by clicking physical button and then AOR needs to click UPDATE CHOICE button. When option of physical mode of hearing is updated successfully, AOR will be able to nominate Senior Counsel or Advocates clerk, as may be the case, through Nominate Counsel tab. Mode of hearing of Senior Counsel shall be same as that of the nominating AOR.
The SOP said only the following types of attendees can be nominated by the AOR;
2. Advocate-on-record (Other than the user)
3. Appearing counsel (Any other advocate otherwise eligible)
4. Registered Clerk of the concerned AOR or nominee.
The registered clerks are not permitted to enter inside the Court room.
According the SOP, a Special Hearing Pass has to be generated through the Supreme Court website for each particular item on any given day.
“If on a particular day, appearance is to be marked in more than one case, multiple passes are required to be generated for that day. For each item number listed before the Court, a separate pass is required. Accordingly, AOR / Senior Counsel may have to check schedule for the day and generate all passes listed for that day before the various Courts,” said the SOP.
The entry through proximity cards will be suspended for the time being till further orders.
“Entry into the High Security Zone through proximity cards/long term passes shall be kept suspended, till further orders; entry of counsels/parties or such other stakeholders to appear inside Courtroom for hybrid hearing will be through daily “Special hearing passes” which will be issued by the Registry, on the basis of authorization by the concerned Advocate on Record,” it said.
It further directed that all Special Hearing Pass holders are required to abide by security protocol, and adhere to COVID-19 Guidelines, including by wearing masks and frequently using hand sanitizer.
In its previous SOP issued on March 5, the Supreme Court had decided the begin a hybrid mode of hearing (physical and virtual) on an experimental basis from March 15.
It had said, “On an experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, the final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays may be heard in the hybrid model, as may be decided by the Hon’ble Bench, considering the number of parties in a matter as well as the limited capacity of the Courtrooms; all other matters, including those listed on Mondays and Fridays shall continue to be heard through video/tele-conferencing mode.”
Read the full SOP here;Hybrid-hearing-manual-SC