Resumption of physical hearing in Delhi HC: Advocates move Supreme Court against decision

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the notification dated January 14, 2021, and roster of physically sitting Judges dated January 14, 2021 along with a roster of physically sitting Joint Registrars dated January 15, 2021 issued by the Delhi High Court without allowing the advocates to choose to appear through virtual mode thereby compelling advocates to appear in person.

The petition has been filed by practicing advocates and esteemed members of the Bar, who have been appearing before the Delhi High Court and District Courts through the virtual mode of hearing on a daily basis, due to the ongoing unprecedented pandemic.

The petitioners have argued that the notification has been issued without any concerns as to the health, life and well-being of the advocates, in the interest of society.

It has been argued that the earlier hybrid system of optional virtual and physical hearing, was accommodating as it catered to the needs of the advocates who preferred to appear in person for their respective matters due to not being able to access proper internet connectivity and, at the same time, allowed the advocates such as the petitioners, inclusive of several other advocates, suffering from co-morbidities and/or having someone in their family having major health concerns, appear virtually.

More than 500 lawyers have signed a digital form in favour of continuing with virtual hearing and opposed the notification.

Hence, the petitioners have urged the Apex Court to issue directions to the High Court of Delhi to set aside the notification and allow the advocates to choose and accordingly appear through the virtual mode of hearing.

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