Wed, 03 Mar 2021

New Delhi [India], January 15 (ANI): Former Solicitor General, and ex-president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Vikas Singh has written a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, requesting him to resume physical hearings at the Supreme Court, which has been hearing cases virtually in view of COVID-19 for past several months.

"I see no reason why the Supreme Court which is the foundation of our democratic polity, should not resume full normal functioning by putting in place sufficient safeguards for the said opening. While the Judges and the Court staff are completely protected being away from the Supreme Court of India areas where the lawyers, litigants, and media come, till date no effort has been made to even think of a method whereby the number of people entering the Court is restricted and normal functioning of courts starts on that basis," the senior lawyer of the Supreme Court in his open letter urged and pleaded the CJI to resume physical hearings of it.

There is no justification in keeping Supreme Court completely shut, Vikas Singh said and added that the Supreme Court can resume physical hearings with required safety norms.

"Bar and Bench are the two main pillars on which the system of justice stands. However, the recent turn of events has created a situation whereby the interests of the Bar are being neglected and the Bench is taking unilateral decisions with regard to the functioning of the institution," Vikas Singh said in his letter.

"In my view when the entire country is opening up, of course with sufficient safeguards," Singh said in his letter.

He has also suggested that in a normal working day of the court comprising of 4.5 hours, matters could be assigned by the hour so that a person whose matter is in the second hour need not crowd the court in the first hour and so on and so forth, there is neither any crowding inside the court nor any crowding outside the court.

After every hour, the court could rise for a short 2-3 minutes break in which time the courtroom could be sanitised for the next batch of lawyers/litigants to enter the courtroom. These are extraordinary times and accordingly require extraordinary measures, he further said.

The largest stakeholders in the functioning of the Supreme Court are the litigants for whose benefit this entire institution has been created and while the issue of the pandemic is looming large in this country, the litigants cannot be ignored by the non-functioning of the Supreme Court in a proper manner, he said.

The young lawyers of this court are the worst sufferers, as many of them have taken to alternative professions or even re-located to their home towns to survive in this pandemic as being without work for so long has been traumatic for them, Singh said. (ANI)

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