Former SCBA Prez writes to CJI seeking re-opening of physical hearing in SC

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) Senior advocate and former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Vikas Singh on Friday wrote afresh to the Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, seeking re-opening of physical hearing at the earliest, saying it was almost a near normal situation in the country and there was no justification why the Supreme Court was still functioning on virtual mode.

In a letter written to the CJI, Singh said if an immediate response was not received in this regard, the lawyers shall be compelled to come to the apex court lawns for the peaceful protest.

He also said that elections of the SCBA were “unduly delayed by the outgoing President leaving no active representation on behalf of the Bar Association.“ “Sir, you will appreciate that this institution (SC) has been created for the benefit of the ordinary litigants and during this pandemic, ordinary litigants have been the biggest sufferers, because the virtual mode of hearing is not able to take up the same number of matters which are possible in physical hearing due to the limitation of bandwidth etc. and thus the number of matters being decided by this Court are far fewer than would be decided in open physical hearing,” the letter said.

He further said that the positivity rate in Delhi has come down to around 0.3 per cent and that as per the WHO, any positivity rate below 5 per cent was near normal.

Singh, in his letter, said that the CJI will appreciate that the Central Government by its last notification of January 27, 2021 has relaxed almost all restrictions in the country with effect from February 1, 2021 including permitting cinema halls to open in full capacity; permitting public swimming pools to start working; permitting marriages to be conducted with 200 people attending in closed spaces; permitting uninhibited inter-state movement of goods and people.

“In fact, the local trains would also start running in Mumbai from February 1, 2021 and hence, it is almost a near normal situation in the country and there is no justification why the Supreme Court is still functioning on virtual mode,” the letter said.

“Hoping for an immediate response, failing which we shall be compelled to come to the Supreme Court lawns for the peaceful protest in the interest of bar and survival of its members,” the letter said.

Earlier also Singh had written letters to the CJI in this regard. In one such letter written on January 14, Singh said that Bar and Bench were the two main pillars on which the system of justice stood, “however, recent turn of events have 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.” PTI UK SJK RKS RKS