SC celebrates 71st anniversary; 43,713 hearings held virtually amid pandemic till Dec

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday completed 71 years of its functioning.

During the day, Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde said that it is a day fit for commemoration every year, as the first sitting was attended by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru along with his ministers in the Cabinet, and Attorney General M.C. Setalvad.

The Chief Justice remembered that in 1950, the top court held its first sitting in the Chamber of Princess.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who were present in the court, agreed that this day should be celebrated.

Later in the day, the top court issued a statement to mark its 71st anniversary, which cited that in the backdrop of the Covid-19 protocols and reduced workforce, 1,998 benches of the top court virtually held 43,713 hearings till December 31, 2020.

The apex court stressed that under the mandate given to it by the Constitution, it has relentlessly marched towards ensuring the protection of rights and liberties of the citizens, upholding the rule of law and the constitutional values.

The top court emphasised that despite facing various challenges in its journey, it remained committed to its duties and ensured that access to justice remained unhindered.

Citing its functioning through video conferencing, the statement said: “During these unprecedented challenges, the court remained functional throughout, though the number of benches was reduced. Beyond the usual minimum required 190 days of court sittings in a calendar year, the court was functional for 231 days, including 13 vacation sittings in the year 2020. The Registry also remained functional for 271 days as against an average of 268 days in the previous three years.”

The statement added that the registry’s working strength was affected considerably with 408 officials/staff getting infected with Covid-19 and an unfortunate loss of life of one official.

“However almost 99 per cent of the officials/staff who reported positive for the infection were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms,” added the statement.

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