A week ago, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had said that physical hearings may resume in a week or ten days.
The Supreme Court will start in-person hearings from September 1. The top court will, however, continue to conduct virtual hearings as well. While virtual hearings will take place on Mondays and Fridays, in-person hearings will take place on the rest of the days. According to reports, the top court is not taking any chances and will take a call on continuing physical hearing on all days after cautiously reviewing the COVID-19 situation.
The apex court had been conducting hearings virtually since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court had switched to hybrid functioning in March but soon returned to virtual hearings ahead of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two days ago, the court had refused to allow an urgent hearing on a plea challenging a Uttarakhand High Court order which has decided to resume normal judicial work through the physical mode from August 24.
A week ago, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had said that physical hearings may resume in a week or ten days. The CJI had made the remarks while observing that the judges miss arguments due to network issues.
President Ram Nath Kovind today appointed 9 new judges, including three women to the Supreme Court, with Justice B V Nagarathna in line to be the first woman Chief Justice of India (CJI) in September 2027. With a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, the Supreme Court as of now has 10 vacancies. Once the new judges take oath in the coming days, the top court will have only one vacancy. This will take a significant burden off the sitting judges. Separate formal notifications by the law ministry announcing their appointments were issued in the afternoon.
Judicial appointments in the Supreme Court have remained frozen since September 2019.