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SC registry carves out oral-only mentioning exception again after SCBA protest

The Supreme Court restored its practice of “listed mentioning” of matters before the registry, less than 10 days after issuing a circular discontinuing the practice.

The SC had on 14 May issued a circular stating that from 1 July 2015 all urgent matters could only be orally mentioned before the chief justice of India and the practice of listed mentioning of matters before the deputy registrar will be discontinued.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had submitted a representation against this circular to the Secretary General on 16 May.

On 22 May the court issued a circular stating that “in partial modification” of the 14 May circular “listed mentioning of urgent matters before the courts shall be done through Mr MV Ramesh, Registrar [J-II], instead of Deputy Registrar (Mentioning), while the urgent matters shall continue to be mentioned orally before Chief Justice’s Court”.

The SCBA’s representation stated:

The long standing existing practice of ‘Listed Mentioning’ which has remained in force for the last several years, is based on uniform, set and specified parameters, on compliance of which, all urgent matters, including matters relating to personal liberty and other matters where urgent interim orders are prayed for, are accepted for Listed Mentioning.”

[…] the present system also has enough safeguards. The Deputy Registrar does not mechanically accept and list every matter before the Hon’ble Court and only matters which fulfill the criteria laid down in practice circulars and cannot wait for normal listing are accepted for inclusion in this list. Even though, these days, SLPs are listed earlier than before, there is still a gap of a week or so and many a times matters cant wait that long.”

“The SCBA strongly believes that to confine all urgent mentioning to one court alone would not only become an extremely cumbersome exercise, with mentioning queues already extending into long aisle up to the doors of Court hall No.1, it is bound to perpetrate chaos and frustration and does not augur well with settled fundamentals of dispensation of Justice. It is also humanly not possible for Hon’ble CJI to hear all urgent mentioning and for the lawyers to apprise him of their urgency in the extremely limited time period, that is available during oral mentioning at 10.30 am […].”

Former chief justice of India P Sathasivam had also modified the system of mentioning of urgent matters to the deputy registrar by adding a qualifying step to the process.

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