National News Update : SC refuses to take up SCBA challenge to its hybrid hearing SOPs

Insight Online News

New Delhi, March 23 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to consider a plea by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) challenging its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for hybrid hearing, even as the lawyers’ association warned it may take recourse to an “agitational path”.

A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that the matter is connected with the administrative working of the court, and on the judicial side, not much can be done about it.

Senior advocate and SCBA President Vikas Singh protested against this observation of the top court. “We have no choice but to take the agitational path,” he said.

At this, the bench replied: “It would take you nowhere.”

On March 12, the Supreme Court had sought minutes of the meeting between its registry and the SCBA, which led to the SOP for hybrid hearing. Singh had claimed that no consultation was done with the Bar members before a decision was taken for hybrid-style hearings, which was scheduled to begin from March 15. However, the top court found the Bar members were, in fact, consulted.

The SCBA had filed a plea in the top court to issue direction to quash the SOP issued on March 5 for hybrid hearing, as they were issued without due consultation with the lawyers’ body.

In the writ petition, it said it is an equal stakeholder in the dispensation of the justice delivery system and the suggestions given by it ought to have been taken into consideration. Citing the SCBA’s President letter, the plea said he had given suggestions on March 2 for resumption of physical hearing, which has not been considered by the apex court.

“That even if before resumption of full physical hearing before this court, a hybrid hearing was to be introduced as an interim measure, in that case the hybrid hearing should have been for all days i.e. from Monday to Friday. In the SOP dated 05.03.2021, there is no provision for hybrid hearing for the matters listed on Monday and Friday, i.e. miscellaneous days when primarily fresh matters are listed,” said the plea by the SCBA.


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