The Supreme Court will resume physical hearing of cases from September 1 in a limited manner. The Secretary General of the Court has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the same.
While the physical hearing, for the time being, will be limited to final/regular hearing matters on non-miscellaneous days, i.e. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The top court will continue with virtual hearings on Monday and Friday, which are miscellaneous days and number of matters listed before the benches are high.
The SOP said that advocate(s)-on-record are required to register themselves on the Supreme Court portal and submit their preferences for appearing before the court either through physical mode or through video/teleconferencing mode within 24 hours after the publication of the weekly list of hearings.
Once hearing through physical mode is opted by advocate(s)-on-Record, hearing through video/tele-conferencing mode to the party concerned will not be facilitated.
The decision was taken after several representations were made by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Supreme Court Advocate on Record Bar Association (SCAORA) to the Chief Justice N V Ramana for resuming physical hearing in the courts.
Earlier in March this year the apex court had commenced hybrid proceedings, a combination of virtual and physical hearings, amid demands by lawyers for resumption of complete physical hearings but the system could not take off due to the onset of the second wave of COVID pandemic.
The top court has been hearing cases through video-conferencing since March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and several bar bodies and lawyers have been demanding that physical hearings should resume immediately.