HC restricts hearings to only matters of urgency

Measure will be in effect for a week

The acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court on Saturday restricted hearings to only urgent matters across all courts in the State for a week from Monday as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The notification is applicable to all Benches in Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Goa, and district, sessions and subordinate courts in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmednagar.

It states, “Advocates, litigants and parties in persons may mention their matters showing the urgency before the concerned courts and upon satisfaction about the urgency, the court shall hear such matters. CMIS [Case Management Information System] dates would be given to the rest of the matters. Orders of ad-interim and interim relief subsisting in the matter shall continue to operate.”

All bar associations and advocates have been directed to restrict the entry of litigants and allow only one person in cases where their presence is unavoidable. The notification said, “Advocates and party in person are requested to provide number and stage of matter on daily board, which they want to be taken up urgently to the concerned court sheristedar or associate prior to 11 a.m. Rest of the matters on Regular Board shall stand adjourned.”

‘Highest level of hygiene’

The advisory for lower courts mentions that principal judges should ensure that sanitisers are made available in court complexes for visitors and staff, particularly those manning windows. Housekeeping staff have been directed to maintain the highest level of hygiene and spray disinfectants on a regular basis.

The circular said, “In criminal matters, the request for exemption from personal appearance of the accused be considered favourably. In civil matters, wherever possible, service of local commissioner be availed of for the purposes of recording of evidence, after obtaining the consent of both the parties. Instead of physical production of undertrial prisoners from jails, facility of video conferencing be availed of. Unnecessary crowding in the lock-up be curtailed and appropriate steps in this regard be taken by all District and Sessions Judges in consultation with prison authorities.”

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 6:07:09 AM |

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