The Bar Council of India has decided to consult Advocates from the Supreme Court and all High Courts and District Courts to gather opinion on the resumption of regular court hearings. The BCI said that it has received various complaints and concerns from lawyers regarding virtual hearings. Also said that the video conferencing hearings have been marred by disturbances on account of poor connectivity or other technical glitches.

It adds further that listing of cases on the basis of “pick and choose” in some High Courts was also a concern flagged. The BCI statement adds that the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justices of High Courts may have to be approached to point out that decisions on the mode of hearing that are made without taking the Bar into confidence would not be able to succeed.

Therefore, the BCI has decided to hold an opinion poll on the issue through the State Bar Councils and the Bar Associations. To this end, the BCI has also sought reports by the State Bar Councils, which are also expected to contain suggestions for the necessary steps that can be adopted by Courts.

In relation to virtual hearings at the Supreme Court, the BCI has also decided to request the Chairman of the e-committee, Justice DY Chandrachud to give instructions to the concerned authorities to make provision for extra links for the hearings to ensure that all the counsel involved in the case are able to be a part of the hearing, as opposed to the two links being provided as of now.

The BCI also resolved to once again request the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers to provide assistance to needy lawyers during this time of lockdown. The BCI and the State Bar Councils have been extending as much help from their end as they can, the statement adds. However, it is pointed out that their resources are limited. Therefore, the government’s intervention for helping the lawyers in financial distress is required, the BCI said.

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