The Supreme Court Thursday asked bar body SCBA to encourage lawyers to attend hearings physically as it is willing to consider changing the standard operating procedure (SOP) framed to govern court proceedings due to COVID-19.
"We have lawyers coming in trickles. We have few lawyers coming in everyday, why can't others come,” a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said when the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President and senior lawyer Vikas Singh raised the issue of resumption of physical hearing by terming the fresh SOP was a “non-starter”.
“You (Singh) encourage your members of the Bar to try to come physically. Let them come. We are trying, we will consider the SOP and everything. No issues," said the bench which also comprised justices L Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant.
"Do not give any option to the lawyers. Please open the courts," said lawyer Shivaji Jadhav, who is also the President of the Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association (SCAORA).
The top court, which had adopted virtual mode of hearing in March last year, recently resumed hybrid form, giving option to lawyer to appear physically or virtually to argue cases from September 1.
The observations were made when the bench was hearing the suo motu case related to extension of limitation period for filing court cases due to COVID.
Earlier, Mr Singh, in his letter to the CJI, had said that system of issuing special passes for the high security area in the top court premises be dispensed with in the SOP issued by the Secretary-General on August 28 this year.
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