NEW DELHI: From the day nationwide lockdown was announced, judiciary which was already reeling under lot of pressure because of pendency of cases, resumed work by overcoming all the technological challenges and began virtual hearings.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit all the countries hard but as far as legal system is concerned, it has shown us a way forward as to how things would be a ‘new normal’ in future. Though open hearings are missed badly by lawyers and judges and many of them have expressed the sentiments on more than one occasion but the little lighter off case talks during the virtual hearings are too becoming a routine of sorts.
The virtual hearings have also shown as to how distance becomes immaterial when one has to appear before the court to argue the case. Senior advocate Harish Salve, who was in London when the lockdown was announced, started appearing in all his cases from his London home as usual.
Similarly, some judges prefer to attend online hearings either from their residents office or from the court back office. Last week, CJI SA Bobde was sitting in his home and was attending the virtual hearing, as the two-week vacation of the Supreme Court has began.
As soon as the hearing began, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta praised the background of CJI’s home and said, “We get to see your house today,” to which CJI responded, “It’s a very old house, but very peaceful.” At several occasions background of lawyers, judges houses were discussed before hearings.
During one of the hearings, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi’s farm house and living room was discussed which had lots of artifacts and judges praised his collection. Last week, during a hearing, CJI’s dog came running near him as soon as the hearing started and the pet had to be managed by the household staff.