- Judges, lawyers can soon say goodbye to traditional black coats, gowns
- Chief Justice SA Bobde would soon announce new dress code
- "Avoid black coats and gowns for the time being," he said today
Judges and lawyers can soon say goodbye to the traditional black coats and gowns -- at least for as long as the coronavirus is around. Chief Justice of India SA Bobde who asked the legal fraternity to avoid black, announced a new dress code later in the evening.
"As a precautionary measure to contain spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection under the prevailing conditions, the Competent Authority has been pleased to direct that the advocates may wear "plain white-shirt/white-salwar-kameez/ white saree, with a plain- white neck band" during the hearings before the Supreme Court of India through Virtual Court System till medical exigencies exist or until further orders," a notification read.
Earlier today, the Chief Justice and other judges swapped the coat for white shirts with a neck band.
"Avoid black coats and gowns for the time being because it makes easier to catch the virus," Chief Justice Bobde said during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation.
The judges, who were conducting hearings on videoconference from home, resumed hearings in courtrooms from yesterday. But the respondents still do not go to court and join in through videoconference.
During the hearing yesterday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked the Court: "Are Your Lordships sitting in the courtroom?
Justice Nageswara Rao replied that it was a pilot project. "From next week, we will be sitting here only. Lawyers can argue from chamber," he added.
The top court was scheduled to go for summer vacation from May 18 to July 6. But with the pilot project, it appears that the summer vacation will not take place. No official announcement, however, has been made about a cancellation.
On Monday, for the first time since inception, the Supreme Court decided that from May 13, its single-judge bench will hear appeals of bail and anticipatory bail in cases wherein offences entail jail term of up to seven years besides the applications for transfer of cases.
The top court, which currently has 32 judges out of the sanctioned strength of 34, normally sits in the combination of two or three, besides the larger Constitution benches.