COVID Coverage: Court’s Functioning (20th October, 2021)
The SC issued a notice on October 7th to resume physical hearings with the option of hybrid hearing on October 20th.
In August, the Court had resumed physical hearings for limited cases. In the following months, the Supreme Court received several requests from Bar Associations to open the court for physical hearings. In light of these requests, the SC issued a notice on October 7th to resume physical hearings with the option of hybrid hearing on October 20th.
Mondays and Fridays, which the Court considers miscellaneous days (where the Court only hears fresh matters to decide if they will be admitted) will continue to be held virtually.
On Tuesdays (non-miscellaneous day), the Court will conduct physical hearings, with the option for Advocates-on-Record (AoRs) to appear virtually. AoRs have to apply for virtual hearing facility before 1:00 PM on the previous day of the hearing.
Only physical hearings will be conducted on Wednesday and Thursday. If on such days, the number of advocates in the Courtroom exceeds the room capacity as per COVID-19 protocol, the Registry will facilitate online hearings.
On physical hearing days, one AOR [or their nominee], one Arguing Counsel and one Junior Counsel per party will be allowed entry into the Court-room; one registered Clerk per party, as chosen by the AOR, shall be allowed to carry paper books/journals etc. up to the Court-rooms. Advocates awaiting their hearings are to wait in Bar Lounges or Libraries to avoid overcrowding in the corridors of the Court.
On hybrid and physical hearing days, the Bench may decide to take a 15 minute break, where the Courtroom is evacuated and sanitised.