A representation has been moved by Supreme Court lawyers before Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde seeking resumption of the physical functioning of the apex court.
The representation is written by advocates Kuldeep Rai, Ankur Jain and Anubhav and 505 lawyers including senior advocates have signed the representation. The representation highlighted that the Bar members especially the young practitioners have been facing difficulties from past 10 months due to the pandemic situations and the continuous virtual functioning of the top court.
The representation also stated that the virtual functioning of the Supreme Court has more lacunae than the benefits and has also failed to serve the cause of justice. The letter also noted that the judges, as well as the Attorney General of India had expressed reservations about the functioning of the virtual system.
The letter also cites various issues backing the claim that the present virtual system is a failure and not subserving the interests of justice including
- Network connectivity issues;
- No proper management by the Registry when it comes to virtual hearings;
- No response to the calls by the dealing officers when it comes to mentioning;
- Dismissing of mentioning of urgent matters by mentioning bench without providing any reason;
- Over 50% of young practitioners have been constrained to leave Delhi as they are unable to meet living expenses.
The representation pointed out that the COVID-19 restrictions have almost been eased in every sector including private offices, malls, marriage halls, movie theatres, temples, election rallies, airports, train services, bus services etc. It was also mentioned that even the Supreme Court’s registry is functioning physically but the Bar members are deprived of this privilege.
High Courts of Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Madras Allahabad, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Kerala are also functioning physically, stated the representation.
The letter also highlighted the grievances related to the listing and mentioning in the matters. It was pointed out that most of the time, the mentioning branch doesn’t respond to the calls, leading to the pendency of important matters which later become infructuous, irrespective of whether the matter is fresh or coming after a notice.
“Many matters relating to life and liberty, including bail, which require immediate attention remain unheard, creating a helpless situation for litigants and lawyers,” the letter said.
However, on Tuesday, CJI Bobde stated that the physical functioning will not be resumed at Supreme Court following the advice from the medical experts. CJI also mentioned the situation where High Courts were forced to shut down the physical functioning after several judges and staff members caught the virus.