Top Stories”Mental & Economic Strain Makes Resumption of Physical Court Hearings Imperative”: DHCBA Writes To Chief Justice Of Delhi HC Sanya Talwar21 July 2020 5:25 AMShare This – xThe Delhi High Court Bar Association has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court seeking resumption of physical court hearings.The letter has been signed under the hand of Advocate Abhijat Bal, Secretary of DHCBA and states that since “virtually all sectors have gradually opened including the private and government officers, market places and even shopping malls etc.”…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Delhi High Court Bar Association has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court seeking resumption of physical court hearings.The letter has been signed under the hand of Advocate Abhijat Bal, Secretary of DHCBA and states that since “virtually all sectors have gradually opened including the private and government officers, market places and even shopping malls etc.” with strict adherence to social distancing norms and other SOPs, there is “an urgent and pressing need to resume physical hearings in the High Court of Delhi which have been suspended for nearly 120 days now”Citing recent development indicating enormous mental and economic strain that lawyers are under due to the continued suspension of physical courts and restriction of hearings only through Video Conferencing of urgent matters, the letter states that the suspension of physical hearings cannot continue at the cost of livelihood of a vast majority of lawyers.”The grim psychological and economic impact of suspension of physical Courts has to be considered and every possible attempt to restore normalcy needs to be made. The same in in keeping with the police of the Central and State Government which have by issuance of unlock guidelines, provided for a gradual return to normalcy in all sector and courts cannot continue to be the exception at the cost of the livelihood for a vast majority of lawyers”In light of this, the Bar Association bats for giving way to a “hybrid system” in keeping with the un-lockdown guidelines.Subsequently, the letter states that restricting Court proceedings and the judicial system to the video conferencing only comes with its “inherent limitations” which has led to a backlog of pending cases and many sub-judice matters have been in a state of suspension for 4 months now, “thereby retarding the efficiency of the justice dispensation system”. Another facet which needs to be addressed is the Rule of Law which is effectuated by open-court hearings, the letter states, adding that the virtual system comes with its limitations, thereby disturbing “this delicate equilibrium on which our Constitution was drafted”.Outlining aspects of lack of facilities which range from technological advancement for lawyers and high-speed internet connectivity, DHCBA has stated that virtual hearings not only render hearing ineffective but also do not do justice to “the art of advocacy”. Other aspects include lack of coordination and cooperation between briefing and arguing counsel and wasting of precious judicial time and the importance of conducting trials, which has several pitfalls through virtual mode.”Another factor factor which makes resumption of physical courts imperative is conducting of trials. Several jurists have gone on record to say that holding of trials through video conferencing would have several pitfalls and could be a tool for misuse in the hands of unscrupulous litigants. The whole purpose of cross-examination would be defeated…”Thus, batting for resumption of physical courts in a graded manner, the DHCBA has laid down suggestions (not exhaustive) that the CJ may take into account:1) Resumption may resume initially with limited number of benches first;2) Adoption of fixed time-slot for a few matters that may well be listed for physical hearings and restrictions on entry into lobby/waiting areas of Court premises;3) To start with limited fresh non-urgent matters per court listed each day;4) Adoption of SOPs with regards to Social Distancing and norms to be followed in courts which may be widely circulated through the website.In light of this, the DHCBA states that it “assures its co-operation in circulating the same through email and SMS as also on the social media”.The letter further has further attached an Annexure for additional SOPs which include restrictions of entry to Court buildings only for advocates and their Clerks having their cases listed on that particular day/slot, thermal scanners deployment, social distance markings, regular sanitisation of court premises, closure of Canteen and main cafeteria initially as well as substantially reducing seating capacity.Click Here To Download LetterSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. 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Five computer scientists will join the faculty of the Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) this fall, as part of a plan funded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to increase by 50 percent the size of Harvard’s computer-science faculty.The new faculty members are Boaz Barak and Madhu Sudan, both Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science; Scott Kuindersma, assistant professor of engineering and computer science; James Mickens, associate professor of computer science; and Alexander “Sasha” Rush, assistant professor of computer science.Adding Barak and Sudan to the faculty builds on a long tradition of excellence in theoretical computer science at Harvard.“A defining characteristic of our computer science program is that it is outward-facing,” said Francis J. Doyle III, who became the John A. Paulson Dean of SEAS last month. “Our faculty collaborate with colleagues across Harvard — from law, medicine, government, and business to the social sciences and humanities. I am confident that these superb additions to our computer-science faculty will complement our interdisciplinary approach and make important contributions to the field.”During a discussion at Sanders Theatre this past November, Steve Ballmer ’77 relayed his belief that “everything is a technology problem,” and that technology, ultimately, drives progress. File photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“Computer science at Harvard today is small, but excellent,” Ballmer said when he announced his game-changing gift last year. “It already punches above its weight. With depth in systems, data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, it is focused on high-impact specialties that are literally changing the world.”The rapidly growing SEAS is the newest of the University’s 12 Schools, having transitioned in 2007 from a division to its current status. It was renamed the Harvard Paulson School in June in recognition of a $400 million endowment gift, the largest in Harvard’s history, from John A. Paulson, M.B.A. ’80.The number of undergraduate computer-science concentrators has increased by a factor of four since 2007, and the percentage of female students has also grown. Meanwhile, more Harvard students pursuing other disciplines are enrolling in CS courses.In the coming years, computer science and other parts of SEAS will expand into new, state-of-the-art facilities on Harvard’s campus in Allston.For more on these and other SEAS appointments, visit here.
ESPN is going through another round of layoffs.CNBC obtained a memo to staffers where ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro confirmed roughly 300 layoffs as its parent company, Disney, shifts to more direct-to-consumer streaming, and following internal discussions about layoffs related to Covid-19. ESPN will also part ways with some on-air talent once contracts expire.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “As you know, we value transparency in our internal dialogue, and that means in both good and challenging times,” Pitaro wrote in the memo. “After much consideration, I have some difficult organizational decisions to share. We will be reducing our workforce, impacting approximately 300 valued team members, in addition to 200 open positions.Reports surfaced last week that the network could suffer more layoffs, as its parent company is focuses more on its streaming service. Other legacy media companies have had similar rounds of layoffs related to the pandemic and the shift to streaming this year.Disney CEO Bob Chapek hinted at a possible reduction in staff as the company restructures its media and entertainment divisions into a single organization that will be responsible for content distribution, ad sales and Disney+.- Advertisement – The network, which employs roughly 6,000 people worldwide, also released a statement from Pitaro on its website confirming the layoffs.Dear colleagues,As you know, we value transparency in our internal dialogue, and that means in both good and challenging times. After much consideration, I have some difficult organizational decisions to share. We will be reducing our workforce, impacting approximately 300 valued team members, in addition to 200 open positions.- Advertisement – Today is hard because ESPN has always been — and will always be — fortified by its fantastic people. Teamwork, dedication, spirit and grit have built this place and are what make ESPN special. Prior to the pandemic, we had been deeply engaged in strategizing how best to position ESPN for future success amidst tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports. The pandemic’s significant impact on our business clearly accelerated those forward-looking discussions. In the short term, we enacted various steps like executive and talent salary reductions, furloughs and budget cuts, and we implemented innovative operations and production approaches, all in an effort to weather the COVID storm.We have, however, reached an inflection point. The speed at which change is occurring requires great urgency, and we must now deliver on serving sports fans in a myriad of new ways. Placing resources in support of our direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital, and, of course, continued innovative television experiences, is more critical than ever. However, building a successful future in a changing world means facing hard choices. Making informed decisions about how and where we need to go – and, as always, in the most efficient way possible – is by far the most challenging job of any leadership team.And, while it must be done looking through a business lens, it also must be done with great respect and genuine concern for people. We are parting ways with some exceptional team members – some of whom have been here for a long time – and all of whom have made important contributions to ESPN. We’re very grateful for all they’ve meant to us, and I assure you we are taking steps to make their transitions easier. I am proud of the people at ESPN.Together, we have overcome tremendous challenges and adversity over these past several months and please know that the decisions and plans executed today were not made lightly. They are, however, necessary and I am convinced that we will move forward and effectively navigate this unprecedented disruption. Our Human Resources and Communications teams will continue to keep you posted on any updates, and you’ll be hearing more detail about our future direction in the next few weeks. In the meantime, if you have questions about anything outlined in this note, please do not hesitate to raise them with your leadership team or HR Business Partner.With gratitude,Jimmy