SC looks for cases fit for virtual hearing

New Delhi: Even as the Supreme Court contemplates to start physical hearing by two or three benches in a week or two, its Registry on Thursday sought consent of the advocates-on-record for the virtual hearing on the tentative list of 636 miscellaneous and regular matters published in the advance list on March 6 and 7, but which could not be taken up because of the Coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

The lawyers are quite happy that the Apex Court is not only progressing towards resumption of the physical hearing but also taking consent of the advocates-on-record to decide which cases should still go for the video-conferencing mode of hearing.

The court was hearing only the most urgent matters through video-conferencing since March 25. The Registry notified the cases that were put on the back-burner because of the virtual hearing limited to only the urgent matters, saying they will be "listed in seriatim in the coming weeks."

However, before putting them on the list, the Registry notified the advocates-on-record to intimate it as to whether these matters are "fit or not for hearing through video conferencing mode." The deadline set for the e-mail response on by 5 PM on August 15.

The Registry has to work out the arrangements for resumption of the open court hearing limited to three courts located in different parts of the main Court that is lying locked up since the lockdown from March 25.

A 7-judge panel headed by Justice N V Ramana has recommended that one court may function from the first floor and two others from two different corridors of the court building.

HC dismisses PIL on masks, sanitisers as essential goods

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Centre to classify masks and sanitisers as essential commodities, regulate their prices and reduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on alcohol-based sanitisers.

The Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan dismissed the petition after finding no substance in the petition.

The PIL was filed by social activist Gaurav Yadav and advocate Aarti Singh, challenging an order of the Central government "excluding masks and sanitisers from essential commodities", and levy of 18 per cent GST on alcohol-based sanitisers. The petition stated that the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs in not extending the notification dated March 12, whereby masks and sanitisers were classified as "essential commodity" under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

In a normal situation, the companies, offices and workplaces have started opening up for work and therefore, the workers, employees, labourers, etc, have to step out of their house for work and have to follow the safety rules including wearing masks, and using hand sanitiser in factories, workplaces and offices, read the plea.

Union Health Ministry had on June 4, 2020, had issued a standard operation procedure (SOP) on preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in offices whereby inter-alia the use of masks and sanitisers in offices was made mandatory, it said.

On July 15, the Ministry of Finance clarified that sanitisers are disinfectants like soaps, anti-bacterial liquids, Dettol which all attract duty standard rate of 18 per cent under the GST regime.

Ensure docs don’t write illegible prescriptions: HC

Cuttack: Expressing anguish over "indecipherable" handwritings of doctors, the Orissa High Court has asked the state government to issue a circular to ensure that they write legible prescriptions, preferably in capital letters. The high court observed that such medical records have the propensity to have adverse medico-legal implications.

Appropriate steps may also be taken to create awareness among the medical professionals, involved in medico-legal cases, to record their observations and comments in a legible manner," the court said.

It is imperative that the entire physician community need to the go extra mile and make conscious efforts to write prescriptions in good handwriting, it added.

The court faced difficulties while perusing the medical documents of the petitioners ailing wife submitted in support of his prayer.

The high court observed that illegible prescriptions can delay treatment of the patient and lead to life- threatening consequences.

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