Coronavirus | Madras HC restricts physical hearings due to surge in COVID-19 cases

CHENNAI, 11/04/2008: Madras High Court buildings in Chennai on April 11, 2008. Photo: V. Ganesan   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Madras High Court has decided to conduct its proceedings virtually or through the hybrid (part physical and part virtual) mode from Monday in view of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in certain pockets of Chennai and other parts of the State.

The decision has been taken as a precautionary measure and to ensure a safe working environment, a notification issued by its Registrar-General said on Saturday.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee has ordered all judges in the principal seat of the High Court as well as those in Madurai Bench to hear cases either virtually, with both the government counsel and the private lawyers appearing through videoconference, or through the hybrid mode where only the government counsel would appear in a physical court, the notification stated.

The current practice of certain judges conducting their court proceedings through the physical mode alone would be stopped, it added.

Court campus

Law officers and the standing counsel alone would be permitted inside the court campus.

“Entry of all other advocates, advocate clerks, litigants and parties-in-person inside the High Court is prohibited from March 8. All the law chambers will remain closed from March 8. Advocates who wish to take the case papers may do so on March 6 and March 7,” the notification, issued by C. Kumarappan, read.

It also stated that special counters would be established inside the court for filing of case papers, applications for copies of order copies and for receipt of order copies. The case papers could be filed and order copies could be obtained from those counters subject to strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Court boycott

Meanwhile, unhappy with the notification, the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) as well as the Women Lawyers Association (WLA) have called for a boycott of all courts and tribunals on Monday.

MHAA president G. Mohana Krishnan said the lawyers had been finding it very difficult to continue their profession without being allowed access to their chambers. He said it was unfair to close down the chambers within a week of opening it. WLA president Louisal Ramesh, too, expressed similar sentiments.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 7:16:20 PM |

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