Supreme Court vacation bench peeved with advocates on video call though registry champions hybrid option

ON Monday, a vacation bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and B.V. Nagarathna expressed its displeasure at advocates appearing through the virtual mode instead of coming to court physically even as the Court’s circular issued on the administrative side on May 20 provides that a hybrid option to ensure smooth functioning of the Courts during the vacations would be provided.

“We come to court everyday. Only lawyers who are physically present will be given indulgence”, Justice Rastogi remarked.

The remark was made when senior advocates Mukul Rohtagi and Abhishek Manu Singhvi sought to argue the matter through video conferencing mode.

Faced with the displeasure of the bench, Rohtagi requested the court to keep the matter for tomorrow when, he said, he would appear physically in court.

The bench told senior advocate Singhvi that vacations were meant for juniors, not seniors. The court asked him when he could come to the court to argue the matter.

“Your Lordships may make a uniform rule. Let there be no Article 14 exceptions,” Singhvi said.

The Supreme Court registry on April 1 issued a revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which states that all the matters listed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, will be heard in physical presence of advocates in the Court-rooms. However, the Monday and Friday or any notified miscellaneous day(s), will be heard in physical presence of the advocates in Court-rooms with an option available to the advocate concerned to seek prior permission for video/teleconferencing mode.