BCI to hold consultations on resumption of courtroom hearings across country

The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Wednesday decided to hold countrywide consultations with lawyers and litigants on resumption of regular hearings in all courts, which have only been taking up urgent matters via videoconferencing during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The BCI observed that litigants are unable to get justice through the virtual courts.

“It (BCI) will consult the senior and other advocates of Supreme Court and High Courts in order to gather their opinion regarding resumption of regular hearings in the Courts. On one hand cases of COVID-19 are increasing day by day and on the other, the problems of litigants and advocates are mounting,” the apex lawyers’ body said in a statement.

The BCI said it has also resolved to request the prime minister and all chief ministers to assist “needy lawyers and help them to overcome their professional loss”.

“It is noted that the Bar Council of India, the State Bar Councils and the Bar Associations of the country have been doing and helping such needy Advocates, as per their capacity. However, the resources of these organisations are limited.

“Therefore, unless the Government comes to their rescue, their problem is not going to be solved. All the Bar Associations of the country should pass a resolution and send it to Prime Minister and to all the Chief Ministers through Local MP, MLAs, and District Collectors,” it said.

The bar body said it has been receiving complaints of pick and choose in fixation of urgent matters in some high courts and frequent disturbances during video conference hearing due to unsatisfactory Wi-Fi connection and other technical problems.

The BCI said it would approach the Chief Justice of India and the chief justice of high courts to request them to take note of real difficulties faced by lawyers in getting the hearing before the courts.

It also decided to request CJI S A Bobde and Justice D Y Chandrachud to give necessary instructions to concerned authorities “to provide links to all such advocates in the virtual hearings, who are concerned with the particular matter and who are either to assist the senior advocate(s) or take part in the hearings”.

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