The Delhi High Court administration has issued an order in partial modification of its January 14 circular concerning the resumption of physical hearings.
The Order clarified that a hybrid systemis being adopted to permit both physical and virtual hearings. A lawyer may opt for the virtual hearing of a matter listed for physical hearing by providing advance intimation.
A party may join proceedings through virtual mode while the other is physically present in Court and the matters would be taken up for physical hearing as per the Roster of the judges.
With regard to implementation of Hybrid system, TV screens have been installed in the Chief Justice’s Court to enable advocates opting for the hybrid system to appear before virtually before the Court for virtual hearings.
For physical hearing advocates and parties can appear in accordance with the Standard Operating Protocol laid down by the High Court. As part of COVID-19 preventive measures, judges, court staff and advocates are separated by glass shields.In Division Benches, a glass shield has been installed between the judges as well.
Entry into the court rooms is strictly regulated to follow norms of social distancing.
An audio system with microphones has also been set up in Court Room 1 of the High Court to make parties audible to the Bench through the layers of glass shields.
A number of petitions were filed in the Supreme Court in this regard. Objections were registered over there being no option given to the concerned lawyer/party for a virtual hearing. However, the Supreme Court declined to interfere in the matter. The court said it trusted the Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice to take an appropriate decision.
Read the Order here: