BY- TANISHKA PANDEY
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has written to the CJI, SA Bobde urging him to resume physical hearing of cases in Supreme Court at the earliest in view of improving the COVID-19 situation.
Highlighting how marriage functions with 200 people are being allowed, Vikas Singh stated that courtrooms would be much safer.
Vikas Singh who was newly elected as the president of SCBA pointed out that lawyers will always wear their masks in courts as compared to the marriage functions where people remove masks while having food at marriage functions.
This recommendation comes after the Ministry of Home Affairs, in its latest guidelines allowed over 200 people allowed to attend marriage functions within enclosed spaces.
The senior advocate maintained that hearing in open Court is both the convention and the constitutional requirement in the Supreme Court. Further, he also stated that virtual hearing was only an interim substitute to open hearing during the pandemic and it cannot by any stretch of imagination be equated to open hearing and since people are attending marriage functions courts hearings should also start physical hearings.
He also pointed out the issue of Supreme Court control room muting and unmuting lawyers during video conference hearings. He claimed that the right to mute and unmute lawyers at will is completely contrary to the concept of open hearing and there have been a number of instances when lawyers were not unmuted even though their matter was called out.
To help facilitate physical hearings, Vikas Singh also recommended certain steps such as adequate thermal checks be made at the entry point for lawyers and litigants entering the Supreme Court and hand sanitizers should be placed outside each Courtroom.
Supreme Court has begun functioning via hybrid mode since March 1 though hearings are primarily being held through video conferencing.