The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide Circular dated 26.03.2020 has confirmed that it will continue to function and hear matters of extreme urgency and the said clarification has been issued in light of the nation-wide lockdown as issued by various offices of the Government of India.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, physical filing has been stopped. Filing is only permitted through E-filing mode. The E-filing option is available on the Supreme Court website. For successful E-filing, firstly, the Petitioner in person or the Advocate on Record (AOR) has to register on the website. Only the Petitioner or the Advocate on Record is allowed to register. An email is sent to the email id provided during registration for activation of the account after which the account is activated and the AOR or the Petitioner can log in for filing.
The AOR is first required to file the petition/ misc. application on the SC Website. The following instructions which have been provided in E-help in the Supreme Court E-filing section have to be kept in mind while filing:
i) All the documents which required the signature of the parties or Advocate-on-record shall physically be signed, be scanned and appended with other pages of the petition at the time of filing the matter.
ii) The pages showing certification stamp of the impugned judgment should also be scanned and appended with the petition. The pages should not be of DIM IMPRESSION or small font size.
iii) All petitions filed through this facility be under Supreme Court Rules, 2013 and as per the mandatory points to be checked (list appended).
iv) The petition must be typed in double space justified and be typed in 14 font size and courier format.
v) Only corrected pages be uploaded at the time of Re-filing and curing the defect. For Re-Filing of corrected pages, use the Re-Filing option available at the E-Filing Menu of Supreme Court’s Website.
Once the filing is complete, the Petitioner or the AOR is permitted to file separately the signed and verified application containing a synopsis of extreme urgency at email@example.com however, the application is not supposed to exceed one page.
It is also pertinent to mention that vide circular dated 05.03.2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has made changes to the process of filing and has directed that superior quality A4 size paper (29.7 cm x 21 cm) having not less than 75 GSM with printing on both sides of the paper with Font – Times New Roman, Font size 14, in one and a half line spacing (for quotations and indents – font size 12 in single line spacing), with a margin of 4 cm on left & right and 2 cm on top & bottom, has to be used in the pleadings, petitions, affidavits or other documents to be filed in this Court and all communications from the Registry of the Court only has to be sent to the concerned Advocates-on-Record through e-mail followed by an SMS alert on the registered mobile number of the Advocate-on-Record. Both the aforesaid instructions will be applicable from 01.04.2020 and the rest of the instructions which have been specified below came into effect on 05.03.2020 itself.
The other two directions state that the Registry will accept only 1 original and 1 paperbook initially and once the defects are cured then the rest of the paperbooks should be filed and a common index has to be placed in the first volume in case there are more than one volume in a matter and a separate index of each volume has to be placed in the respective volume(s).
DISTRICT COURTS AT DELHI
Following the Circulars of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and Hon’ble Delhi High Court, the Office of the District & Session Judge (HQ), Delhi Advisory Protocol, in light of the present extraordinary circumstances issued and Order on 29.03.2020. The procedure prescribed will only be followed with the consent of all stakeholders and hearings will take place only in cases of extreme urgency. The prescribed procedure is as follows:
1. If the Administrative Officer (Judl.) “AO(J)” on request for urgent listing is satisfied that it is a matter of extreme urgency shall ask the litigant/ Advocate to send complete paperbook in pdf format to the dedicated email firstname.lastname@example.org .
2. The AO(J) shall offer Advocate to address arguments through videoconferencing via Zoom cloud meetings application and if the Advocate agrees then the AO(J) shall fix time, preferably next day and shall communicate the same to the Judicial Officer on duty as well as Prosecutor concerned over the phone as well as email.
3. The AO(J) also has to share the paperbook and the email id of the Advocate and the Prosecutor concerned with the Judicial Officer on duty.
4. On the day and time fixed for hearing, the Judicial Officer shall log in Zoom application and shall send the URL to the Advocate through Zoom itself on receipt whereof the Advocate shall join the Video Conferencing. The stenographer shall also be made to join from his/ her home. The Order shall be dictated by the Judicial Officer either over the phone or during the video conference. The order transmitted shall either be digitally signed or the signed scanned copy shall be sent to the AO(J) which will be transmitted to the Advocate by the AO(J) and the same shall be sent to the Computer Branch for being uploaded.
A systematic procedure for the hearing of extreme urgent matters has been brought into place during such extraordinary circumstances. As can be seen, the procedure for filing is much easier before the District Courts since the paperbook only has to be sent via email to the AO(J). As can be seen, this elaborate procedure has been brought into place in terms of the procedure followed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court however, it is an option and will be followed only with the consent of all stakeholders.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shriram is an associate at Vedya Partners, he is a dedicated professional who has given his heart and soul for the field of law. He has a the ability to prove a practical solution to the most complex issues.