Today's Paper

CJI against resuming physical hearings

CJI Sharad A. Bobde  

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde on Tuesday disagreed with the idea of resuming physical hearings in the Supreme Court, saying the court did not want to be the cause of fatalities due to the spread of COVID-19.

“We have been facing closedown of courts for nearly a year. It is dangerous to get a congregation of people in courts. We do not want the number of fatalities to increase due to the courts,” he observed.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it was salutary how the court had not denied justice to anyone by working throughout the pandemic as virtual court.

“In a huge country like this, Your Lordship’s court has not denied justice even for a day. It is really salutary,” Mr. Mehta submitted.

‘Reviewing situation’

CJI Bobde said the court was regularly reviewing the situation. He pointed out how the High Courts of Madras and Rajasthan had to close down after resuming physical courts due to the spread of the infection.

“We will take appropriate decision after consulting medical authorities,” he said.

The three-judge Bench was hearing a suo motu case to provide financial aid to young lawyers struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. One of the lawyers had sought a physical court hearing in the case.

During the hearing, senior advocate P.S. Narasimha, as a senior member of the Bar, said Bar Councils were ready to stand guarantee for government loans of up to Rs. 3 lakh to struggling lawyers. But the CJI said the Bar and affluent lawyers should contribute more than what they had already done. The court asked the Solicitor General to convene a meeting to discuss the proposal of bar associations for the Centre to arrange financial aid.