As India enters the second phase of nationwide inoculation against COVID-19, the Supreme Court of India will start hearing cases in a hybrid mode on an experimental basis beginning from March 15. All subordinate courts in Delhi shall also operate physically from March 15.
The top court has issued several directions and standard operating procedures on the apex court's functioning keeping COVID-19 pandemic and suggestions from the Bar associations in mind.
The lawyers will have an option to attend hearings physically or online under this mode. This will be subject to the capacity of any courtroom and no one will be allowed to enter the premises earlier than 10 minutes prior to beginning of the hearing.
"On an experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, the final hearing or regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays may be heard in the hybrid mode, as may be decided by the Honorable Bench, considering the number of parties in a manner as well as the limited capacity of the xourt rooms; all other matters, including those listed on Mondays and Fridays, shall continue to be heard through video/teleconferencing mode," a Supreme Court release stated.
It is mandatory for all people entering the Supreme Court premises to wear face masks, use hand sanitisers and maintain social distancing. The top court has also set up COVID-19 vaccination facilities for judges (sitting and retired) and their families.