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Physical hearings: Approach Delhi HC, lawyers told

A view of Supreme Court. File Photo.   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it understood the gravity of the problem lawyers and others, including litigants and staffers, may have to face following the Delhi High Court’s recent decision to resume physical hearings.

The High Court had issued a notification on January 14 on increasing the number of Benches for physical hearings. It also allowed lower courts in Delhi to conduct them on alternate days from January 18.

Four lawyers had challenged the notification in the apex court.

On Tuesday, a Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde said the apex court usually did not intervene in administrative decisions taken by High Courts. It asked the petitioners to approach the High Court itself.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, for the lawyers, said the resumption of physical hearings and the discontinuation of a hybrid system of both physical and virtual court hearings would expose people to the dangers of the pandemic. He said lawyers need to be given a choice of how they want their case to be heard.

The court adjourned the case for hearing on Wednesday.

The petition said the notification was issued in “utter and complete disregard of the life, health and well-being of the practising advocates, litigants, in addition to being bad in law and violative of fundamental rights of the advocates and other personnel”.

“It is also against the interest and safety of the public and society at large... The hybrid system of optional virtual and physical hearing was accommodating,” the petition said.

Separately, the CJI told a group of lawyers of the Supreme Court Bar Association to take expert medical opinion before holding the advocates’ body elections.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 12:38:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/physical-hearings-approach-delhi-hc-lawyers-told/article33612367.ece

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