Coronavirus scare: Supreme Court shifts to virtual hearing on urgent matters

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NEW DELHI: Amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Supreme Court said on Monday that it favours conducting virtual hearing on urgent matters as it considers shutting down its services.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices L.N. Rao and Surya Kant said the apex court administration would temporarily consider cancellation of all proximity cards for advocates and sealing of lawyers’ chambers on the court complex in order to prevent overcrowding.

The top court observed that only Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Dushyant Dave would certify lawyers’ who could come inside the courtroom to argue urgent matters through video conferencing.

By Tuesday evening, the top court said that all lawyers’ chambers inside and in close proximity to the court premises would be sealed. The bench said that there would be no gathering of lawyers on the court premises until further orders.

Chief Justice Bobde said that he would take a call on the future course of action on Monday, exploring the possibility of a shutdown or considering the possibility of advancing the summer vacations, which are due in May and June.

The SCBA President had proposed the apex court to go on a break for nearly four weeks. Similarly, the members of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) has passed a resolution that its members would not appear in the top court till April 4, as there is complete lockdown in various states. SCAORA has urged the Chief Justice to completely shut the top court.

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