September 7, 2021 01:13 PM
Lawyers body seeks hybrid hearings to continue, The non-government organization All India Association of Jurists today moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to allow hybrid hearings to continue, while challenging the Uttarakhand High Court order for mandatory physical hearing in court. It said that mandatory physical hearings violate the right to access justice.
The SC bench, comprising justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna, said it’ll issue a notice to the Bar Council of India but there will not be a stay on the order.
Sezior advocate Siddarth Luthra, while appearing for petitioners, said there are three sets of courts — one like Uttarakhand where there is a complete bar on online hearing; one which is theoretically allowing hybrid; and the third that conduct online hearings. Justice Rao asked that once people get rid of Covid-19, and if the third wave subsides, will the petitioners still say hybrid should continue?
Advocate Luthra said the hybrid model allows a litigant — sitting anywhere in India — easy access to justice. “Travel costs, carbon footprint, paperwork everything is taken care of,” he added. Justice Rao said young lawyers are also suffering due to virtual hearings.
Justice Gavai said just two days ago at a function attended by the Chief Justice of India, the Bar Council chairman said lawyers are suffering, and that it doesn’t look good for a senior sitting in his house with three computers to say this.
Lawyers body seeks hybrid hearings to continue, Luthra explained that it is not the petitioners’ views but there is a parliamentary sub-committee report on the matter. He said the hybrid option should not be curtailed cause some are benefiting and some are not.