The Supreme Court has notified the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2019, which empowers the chief justice of India to appoint single-judge benches to hear pleas for bail and transfer of cases, The Hindu reported on Friday. The new rules expand the authority of the chief justice as “master of the roster” to handpick a judge to decide these cases urgently.

Under Order VI, Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules of 2013, a Supreme Court bench should have at least two judges. However, following this amendment, the top court will see single-judge benches like those in High Courts. The nominated single-judge bench will now hear appeals arising out of grant, dismissal or rejection of bail or anticipatory bail for offences punishable with imprisonment up to seven years.

The Supreme Court has also made a minor change to Order IV, Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules, which deals with the appearance of advocates, Bar and Bench reported. Currently, petitioners in jail are required to file an application seeking permission to argue in person, and hold a meeting with the registrar. The amendment to Order IV does away with the need to speak to the registrar.

An amendment has also been made to Order XIII, Rule 3. This rule provides that Advocates-On-Record and parties-in-person can apply for certified copies of filings and judgments. The amendment allows an advocate who argued the case or an advocate authorised by the Advocate-On-Record in the case to apply for such certified copies.

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