After demand from Bar Association and SCBA, Supreme Court from March 15 to start “hybrid mode” hearing. The court has been operating virtually since the start of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
In the ‘hybrid’ mode counsel will be enable to appear either via video-conferencing or be physically present in court.
Supreme Court issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). As per the guidelines, issued by the Chief Justice S A Bobde, “on an experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, the final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays may be heard in the hybrid mode, as may be decided by the Hon’ble Bench, considering the number of parties in a matter ,as well as the limited capacity of court rooms” and that “all other matters, including those listed on Mondays and Fridays shall continue to be heard through video/tele-conferencing”.
However, in case the court directs holding hearing of such matters through the hybrid mode, the appearance of the parties, whether by physical presence or virtually, will be facilitated as per the directions of the Bench.
SOP Reads,“If in a matter listed for hybrid hearing, the number of parties is more, then one AOR (advocate-on-record) and one arguing counsel per party will be allowed entry; one registered clerk per party, as may be chosen by the AOR, shall be allowed entry to carry paper books/journals etc. of the counsels upto the court-rooms,”.