HC suo motu extends relief to litigants in view of lockdown

It asks govt. to look into food security of vulnerable sections, health issues of pourakarmikas

The High Court of Karnataka, in a special sitting held at the home office of the Chief Justice after announcement of the nationwide lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, issued a series of interim directions to protect the interests of litigants as they could not now approach the courts due to the restrictions imposed.

A special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna conducted the proceedings suo motu at around 10 p.m. on March 24 after summoning the State Chief Secretary and the Advocate General to hear two PIL petitions.

“We propose to exercise our jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India by issuing certain directions to ensure that litigants should not suffer on account of their inability to approach the courts of law,” the Bench said in its order.

The Bench said that all interim orders, passed by the Karnataka High Court, all the district courts, civil courts, family courts, labour courts, industrial tribunals and all other tribunals in the State, which are due to expire within one month from today, will continue to operate for a period of one month from March 24.

The Bench made it clear that those interim orders, which were not of a limited duration and were to operate till further orders, will remain unaffected.

Also, the Bench said that if the criminal courts in the State have granted bail orders or anticipatory bail for a limited period which are likely to expire in one month from today, such orders would stand extended for a period of one month from March 24.

If any orders of eviction, dispossession or demolition are already passed by the High Court, district or civil courts, the same shall remain in abeyance for a period of one month from today, the Bench said.

The Bench also hoped that State government, municipal authorities and the agencies and instrumentalities of the State government will be slow in taking action of demolition and eviction of persons.

Food security issues

The Bench on March 26 considered the letters received by the Chief Justice and the executive chairman of the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority by various non-government organisations on the need of food security for vulnerable sections of the society during lockdown and measures to protect health of pourakarmikas in the State due to the spread of COVID-19.

While asking the government to look into the grievances made in the letters, the Bench stated it will hold special sitting on March 30 on the issues raised in the letters while making it clear that the advocates or the parties, except the A-G or any government counsel, should appear only through video-conference mode.

Courts closed till April 14

The High Court, in an administrative order issued on the early hours of March 25, has cancelled the special sittings of the High Court and the district judiciary as notified on particular dates. Also the period of closure of all the courts and the tribunals in the State has been extended till April 14.

However, in case of any extreme urgency request can be sent to the Registrar (Judicial) of the High Court through email: regjudicial@hck.gov.in with a brief note explaining the urgency. If It is considered favourable by the Chief Justice, necessary intimation of e-filing and date of hearing and time will be informed to the advocate/litigant appearing in person through video-conference mode by a designated judge.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:57:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-suo-motu-extends-relief-to-litigants-in-view-of-lockdown/article31175664.ece

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