Women Advocates Move To Supreme Court Against the Delhi HC Orders on Resuming Physical Hearing

Another writ petition has been filed by women advocates in the Supreme Court against the decision of the Delhi HC of directing the expansion of physical hearing of cases within the National Capital Territory of Delhi without giving an option to litigants to be represented by their lawyers virtually.

As per the notification issued by the Registrar General on January 14th and 15th, 2 Division benches, 3 single benches (Criminal side), 3 single benches (Civil side) and 3 original jurisdictions (Civil side) should be held every day. All the Joint Registrar in HC and the 6 district Courts must function every alternate day from 18th January 2020.

The Women Petitioners

The petitioners were Advocates Amrita Sharma, Saumya Tandon, Shivani Luthra, Padma Priya, Asmita Narula who are practising women advocates in the Delhi High Courts and District Courts. They argued that this order had to be quashed as they are compelling the advocates, litigants and other staff to work for a living at the risk of their own as well as their family’s health.

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It is submitted that they are upset that there is no provision made in the said decision of representing their clients through video conferencing in court or through a virtual hearing if it’s not possible for the advocates to be present physically in the court in these tough times.

It is contended that the office order fails to take notice that the advocates cannot effectively represent their clients virtually while them being physically present in the court simultaneously. In addition to that, by not giving an option to hear the matter virtually or through video conferencing in the court, it violates the fundamental right of access to justice that the clients have and the fundamental right to livelihood.

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Furthermore, it is argued that there are many women and men advocates whose children are going through virtual learning and the virtual hearing of cases helped the advocates manage both their professional and personal work. But the recently passed order it is compelling the advocates to choose between their professional and private life and more so, expose their children and other vulnerable members of the family to Covid 19 and leaves them with no alternative.

“A decline in the cases of Covid 19” has been the grounds on which the impugned order had been laid in the manner stated above.

But looking at the conditions around, even though the vaccine drive has started the time when the real effect will be seen still lies in uncertainty. Thus wearing masks, sanitizing hands and avoiding crowded places can be the only effective way to protect yourself and the family in the current situation.


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