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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Supreme Court hears 6,991 cases in virtual mode

Figures show that approximately 25,000 such video links were shared with lawyers, indicating a steady increase in their participation despite initial reservations.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | June 19, 2020 1:20:45 am
supreme court, virtual hearing, video conference hearing, sc virtual hearing, coronavirus, india lockdown, indian express With more than 200 cases listed before different benches on Friday, the total number of cases heard will cross 7,000. (Representational)

The Supreme Court, which went into virtual mode to hear cases amid the Covid-19 pandemic, has so far heard 6,991 cases — far more than other top courts in the world — official figures show.

Thursday marked the 56th day of virtual hearings, which kicked off on March 23. A total of 617 benches, including 293 for main matters and 324 for review petitions, sat in this period. The Registrar Court also considered 150 matters in the meanwhile.

With more than 200 cases listed before different benches on Friday, the total number of cases heard will cross 7,000.

The apex court also delivered 132 judgments in main matters and 538 judgments in connected matters during this period. For the virtual hearings, the SC Registry shared a digital link with lawyers so they could access proceedings through laptop or mobile phones with good data connectivity.

Figures show that approximately 25,000 such video links were shared with lawyers, indicating a steady increase in their participation despite initial reservations.

Cases taken up by the court during this period include those related to migrants and various aspects of management of Covid-19 situation. The top court took suo motu cognizance of the dangers of overcrowding in prisons and ordered release of undertrials and convicts on parole or bail. It took into consideration conditions of children in juvenile homes and directed that they be rehabilitated with family wherever possible. The court also took up cases having a bearing on freedom of speech, including those related to journalists Arnab Goswami and Vinod Dua, and matters related to internet in Jammu and Kashmir.

The need to keeps courts running during the lockdown forced the judiciary across the world to switch to virtual hearings.

Official figures show that the Supreme Court of the UK took up 10 cases from March 24 and pronounced 15 judgments.

While no specific number is available for cases heard by the top court of the US, it gave 20 judgments between March 30 and June 8.

Between April 7 and June 3, Australia’s top court heard 94 cases and pronounced 12 judgments while the Canadian Supreme Court heard 173 cases and delivered five judgments between March 27 and June 11.

The South African SC took up 51 cases during their lockdown and gave 58 judgments. The Singapore SC heard 146 cases during their lockdown and passed 98 judgments.

The top court of Spain heard 800 cases via video conferencing.

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