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NEW DELHI: CJI S A Bobde has left it to the seven-judge committee to decide the date for resumption of physical hearings in the Supreme Court within days of the panel recommending start of limited physical hearings on a trial basis in two weeks with adequate precautions to guard against coronavirus.
The committee, comprising Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, U U Lalit, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and L N Rao, had held extensive consultations with medical experts, who had advised against resumption of physical hearing before September 1, and bar leaders Dushyant Dave and Shivaji Jadav, who had pressed for immediate start of physical hearings.
It had also said that hearing of most cases through video-conferencing would continue as is being done since March 25. The recommendation of the committee was believed to serve as a cue for high courts to decide on resumption of physical hearing in HCs and trial courts, which provide nearly 15 lakh advocates across the country their sole avenue of earnings.
After considering the views of all concerned, the committee had recommended to CJI Bobde that limited physical hearings in three SC courtrooms could resume only for old matters requiring long hearing. It had suggested entry of only arguing counsel. The committee had said the CJI could fix a date for resumption of physical hearing as a pilot project on trial basis. But the CJI has now asked the committee to decide when to resume physical hearing. If the committee agrees with the CJI’s request to decide the date, it has to again consult medical experts as well as bar leaders.
More than 200 Advocates on Record have come together to request deferment of physical hearing till the pandemic situation eases.

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