It was fews days before on May 15 2020 that the Supreme Court Of India had decided to temporarily suspend its summer holidays.In a notification released by Supreme Court,they had decided to continue working till eighteenth of June 2020.
According to a standard operating procedure (SoP) released on Sunday,Supreme Court has come up with new guidelines regarding hearing all matters from May 18 2020 to June 18 2020.The New Standard Operating procedures are of very importance because the Apex Court of India has been hearing only urgent matters since the Lockdown was announced in India.
The Supreme Court will hear all its cases via video and audio links from May 18 till its functioning on June 19.
While issuing the new procedures,the top Court said that,”In order to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), considering the prevailing situation, and taking into account the suggestions received from various quarters and the guidelines issued by the Government of India and Government of NCT of Delhi from time to time, the Chief Justice of India has been pleased to direct the constitution of the bench(es) to hear matters in the coming weeks since the Virtual Courts will be functioning from May 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020 (both days inclusive), that is, during the earlier notified summer vacations through video conferencing/ tele-conferencing mode only,”
The Court has also set up an helpline number ‘1881’ to help litigants as well as advocates.The helpline will provide immediate assistance to matters related to judicial functions as well as in E filing.The helpline will work from 10 am to 5 pm in the evening.
The court also added that,”The proceedings by video-conference should not be recorded/stored or broadcast, in any manner whatsoever, as recording/copying/storing and/or broadcasting, by any means, of the hearings and proceedings before the apex court are expressly prohibited.”
Matters that are already pending will be considered by the Court in this period,”Once the pool of fresh matters is exhausted, matters belonging to Short Categories, which are ready for listing, will be listed before the court for hearing. In addition to the fresh matters and short category matters, such other matters shall also be listed for hearing, as may be directed,”
The New Circular of SoP will replace replace all the previous SoPs which were issued on March 23,26 as well as April 17.
New SoP Guidelines
The SoP said that,”The Advocate-on-Record or the parties in person should specify as to whether he/she would link to the Bench through their own computer or would prefer to avail the facility for video-conferencing in the Supreme Court premises,”Also,”It may be further noted that smooth functioning of the video-conference is squarely dependent upon and subject to the connectivity (signal-strength/bandwidth) available at the end of the remote user(s), and hence it is expected that any party joining a video-conference hearing shall ensure robust connectivity and bandwidth are available at their end – in this regard, parties may use broadband connection of minimum 2 mbps/dedicated 4G data connection, and may also ensure that no other device or application is connected to or using the bandwidth when the hearing by video-conferencing is progressing on their Vidyo-enabled computer.”