Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Supreme Court of India to allow hearings through video conferencing

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Battling against the coronavirus spread, the Supreme Court of India has allowed video conferencing of hearings and has asked the advocates to file petitions through email as a shield against the virus, Chief Justice of India S H Bobde has told members of the bar.

The Supreme Court of India resumed sitting on Monday after a week’s Holi vacation is tying, as much as it can, to avoid person-to-person contact.

All visitors and members of the staff were subjected to the thermal screening and have been asked to sign a declaration saying that they were not suffering from any Coronavirus – like symptoms.

The lawyers, the media and court staff and the litigants are asked to cooperate with the court registry.

As there cannot be a complete shutdown of the courts, the Supreme Court of India functions in a restricted manner with allowing only important and urgent matters.

To battle against the virus, a meeting on Sunday night was held by the chief justice who had held consultations with the Supreme Court bar association and the Supreme Court Advocates – on – Record Association along with medical experts from AIIMS, private hospitals and the Indian Council of medical research and the following decisions were taken –

  • Anyone entering the court premises will be required to sign the declaration on whether they have traveled overseas, especially to any of the notified countries and if they have, they will not be allowed to enter the court.
  • Whether they are in close contact with the person infected with the coronavirus.
  • Whether they have had a cold or a cough in the past day or two.
  • Posters on respiratory etiquette will be put up on the Supreme Court of India premises and circulated through social media.
  • Every person to enter into the court premises will undergo thermal scanner screening while entering.
  • Sanitizers will be offered in all courtrooms, toilets, and corridors.
  • Volunteers will be deployed in court halls, people will be encouraged to keep a safe distance from one another, lawyers will be requested to leave the premises as soon as their matters are finished.
  • A separate room for the counsel for each party will be made available on the Supreme Court of India premises.

Justice Chandrachud said, once the practice of video conferencing starts, smart TV sets will be provided in the press lounge and said that e-filing can be made at any time of the day.

 

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