Difficult to resume normal functioning of courts soon after lockdown ends: Chief Justice

It will be difficult to start normal functioning of all courts in the State immediately after the lockdown is lifted as social distancing norms will have to be in force, Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka of the Karnataka High Court said on Tuesday.

Pointing out that the Full Court of the High Court has been regularly deliberating on this aspect, the Chief Justice said several precautionary measures will have to be put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He made the remarks while heading a Division Bench, also comprising Justice B.V. Nagarathna, during a hearing through videoconferencing of PIL petitions filed by H.C. Shivaramu and other advocates. The petitioners had sought directions to the Karnataka State Bar Council (KSBC) and the Bar Council of India to grant financial relief to needy advocates, who have lost their daily income due to closure of courts, from the Advocates’ Welfare Funds

Indore case

The Chief Justice also pointed out that the entire building of Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Indore Bench were to be closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago.

It is being contemplated to give appointments for filling of petitions through e-mails in district courts as allowing advocates to file petitions through normal course would result in crowding on the court premises, the Chief Justice said, while indicating to KSBC that it is important to provide relief to needy advocates as it will take a few weeks to start normal functioning of the courts even after lifting of lockdown.

₹3,000 each

Earlier, Senior Counsel Jayakumar S. Patil, appearing for KSBC, told the Division Bench that KSBC has so far received 11,000 application from advocates for financial relief.

Mr. Patil said that as of now KSBC, based on available finance, is shortly proposed to pay approximately ₹3,000 each to around 10,000 advocates, who are eligible to get relief from the Advocates’ Welfare Fund, through their bank accounts.

HC launches helpline

The High Court started a dedicated helpline to assist advocates and litigants on e-filing of petitions and hearing through videoconferencing in its three Benches at Bengaluru, Dharwad and Kalaburagi.

Advocates and litigants can contact Principal Bench at Bengaluru on 14620; Dharwad Bench on 14621 and Kalaburagi Bench on 14622 during office hours, said a public notice.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:18:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/difficult-to-resume-normal-functioning-of-courts-soon-after-lockdown-ends-chief-justice/article31456241.ece

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