The Supreme Court on Sunday issued a fresh set of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) through an official release for advocates and party-in-persons for e-filing, mentioning, listing, and video conferencing hearings. The virtual courts are set to function from May 18.
The SOP release of the apex court read, "In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, considering the prevailing situation, and taking into account the suggestions received from various quarters and the guidelines issued by the Government of India and Government of NCT of Delhi from time to time, the Chief Justice of India has been pleased to direct the constitution of the benches to hear matters in the coming weeks since the virtual courts will be functioning from May 18, 2020, to June 19, 2020, through video conferencing/teleconferencing mode only."
Meanwhile, on Friday, the SC conducted an online demo of the new e-filing module that will enable cases to be filed online 24 hours a day and 7 days a week irrespective of the apex court's working hours.
In the view of the COVID-19 crisis, the Supreme Court has been hearing only urgent cases since March 23 via video-conferencing. The entry of lawyers and litigants in the apex court has been suspended during the nationwide lockdown. While Friday, May 15 was the last working day for the SC, it was announced earlier in the day that the summer vacation has been deferred. Five benches, ordinarily comprising three judges, will take up all pending and fresh matters, including urgent ones, through video conferencing starting from May 18 till June 19.
(With ANI Inputs)