COVID-19 | Can’t go beyond medical advice to allow use of local trains for lawyers: Bombay HC

A health worker takes a swab sample from a lawyer at the Advocate's Association Office at Court of Small Causes, in South Mumbai on March 24, 2021.   | Photo Credit: EMMANUAL YOGINI

The Bombay High Court on July 13 said while it was aware of the hardships faced by lawyers in Mumbai, it could not go beyond medical advice and permit them to use local train services for travelling to work.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni, however, directed the Maharashtra government to inform the court by July 16 of its decision on whether 60 registered judicial clerks of the High Court could be permitted to use the trains, since the court was currently permitting only physical filing of cases.

The court was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) seeking permission for lawyers to use local trains to travel to courts and their offices.

The Bench said, following its administrative committee meeting on July 1, the High Court had asked the State government to take a call on permitting judicial clerks to use the train service. It had decided against permitting lawyers from using the trains till the COVID-19 situation in the State improved.

On July 13, when the Bench directed the State’s counsel, Poornima Kantharia, to let the court know of the State’s decision, advocate Shyam Devani, the counsel for one of the petitioners, reiterated that lawyers were also facing difficulties in commuting to work.

At this, the Bench said, “Don’t think we are not concerned about lawyers’ problems. But we can’t go beyond medical advice. We are taking advice from the highest expert body in the State, the Maharashtra COVID-19 task force.”

The High Court will hear the plea further on July 16.

The local train services in Mumbai are currently restricted to emergency and essential services staff.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 3:09:56 PM |

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