“Miss You Mr Mukul”: Banter In Supreme Court As Physical Hearings Cleared

 

The top court had in September 2020 held the quota law in abeyance.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court is all set to revive physical hearing of cases after a gap of almost a year. On March 8, a constitution bench will begin the hearing the final arguments against 16 per cent reservations for the Maratha community, as legislated by the Maharashtra assembly in November 2018, and as upheld by the Bombay High Court in June 2019.  

Heading the bench comprised of Justices L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta, and S Ravindra Bhat, Justice Ashok Bhushan today posted “the matter for March 8”.

“If physical hearing starts by then, then hearing through physical mode, and those who want to appear through video conference can argue through it,” Justice Bhushan said.

In some light-hearted banter, Justice L N Rao addressed Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the government of Maharashtra: “Mr Mukul, we are missing you physically for almost a year.”

To which, the Senior Counsel replied that since a lot of vaccines were “going waste” because of the lower-than-expected number of recipients, the Attorney General could exercise his power to make them available to judges and senior lawyers, instead, who are anyway “aged”.

Pat came Justice LN Rao’s “order”: “Whether vaccine or not you (Mr Rohatgi) have to come physically.”      

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The last time physical hearings were held by the Supreme Court was on March 23, 2020, following which all proceedings shifted to the virtual mode in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak and the nationwide lockdown.  

The hearing on March 8 will be on Maharashtra’s Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, brought in to grant reservation to people of the Maratha community in Maharashtra in jobs and admissions.