May hear cases physically after one week or 10 days, says SC


The Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated that it may resume physical hearing very soon. The top court has been conducting proceedings virtually since March last year, amid the ongoing Covid pandemic.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, during the hearing of a matter, said that physical hearing in the apex court may start within 10 days.

“We may hear physically after one week or 10 days,” the CJI said, noting that while taking up matter virtually, sometimes lawyers are not audible or they are not visible, while arguing their matter.

The bench was hearing appeals challenging the Bombay High Court judgment in a matter related to tariff order passed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India last year.

On July 30, the Supreme Court had conducted first physical hearing in a case after a gap of more than 16 months. The counsel involved in the matter appeared physically before a bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose.

According to a senior top court official, the physical hearing in the matter was an exception, as the parties had agreed to appear physically argue their matter.

In July, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had written a letter to Chief Justice Ramana seeking resumption of physical hearings in the apex court, as the Covid-19 situation in Delhi has come to almost normal.

The apex court’s bar body, through its President and senior advocate Vikas Singh, in a letter to the Chief Justice, had said on July 5, the Covid positivity rate has come down to 0.09 per cent, where out of 61,405 tests, only 54 positive cases were reported.

“As the situation stands today, nobody knows when things may further escalate, and a third wave may also become a possibility. In these uncertain circumstances, I feel that we have to resume our activities on the basis of the current situation,” he had said.