CJI against resuming physical hearings in Supreme Court


Court does not want to be cause of fatalities due to coronavirus, says Chief Justice Bobde

Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde on Tuesday disagreed with the idea of resuming physical hearings in the Supreme Court, saying the court did not want to be the cause of fatalities due to the spread of coronavirus.

“We have been facing closedown of courts for nearly a year. It is dangerous to get a congregation of people in courts. We do not want the number of fatalities to increase due to the courts,” Chief Justice Bobde said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it was salutary how the Supreme Court had not denied justice to anyone by working throughout the pandemic as virtual court.

“In a huge country like this, Your Lordship’s court has not denied justice even for a day. It is really salutary,” Mr. Mehta submitted.

Chief Justice Bobde said the court was regularly reviewing the situation and consulting medical experts.

He pointed out how the High Courts of Madras and Rajasthan had to close down after resuming physical courts due to spread of infection.

“We will take appropriate decision after consulting medical authorities,” the CJI said.

The three-judge Bench was hearing a suo motu case to provide financial aid to young lawyers struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.

One of the lawyers had sought a physical court hearing in the case.

During the hearing, senior advocate P.S. Narasimha, as a senior member of the Bar, said Bar Councils were ready to stand guarantee for government loans of up to ₹3 lakh to young, struggling lawyers.

But the Chief Justice said the Bar and affluent lawyers should contribute more than what they had already done. Ways to channelise funds from the Bar should be devised.

“The Bar has primary responsibility to these lawyers. The government has only a secondary responsibility,” the Chief Justice said.

The court asked the Solicitor General to convene a meeting to discuss the proposal of bar associations for Centre to arrange financial aid.

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