Kerala

Judges to resume hearing wearing protective gear

Murder case appeal to be heard following social distancing norms

Wearing face masks and maintaining a distance of over one metre from each other a two-member Division Bench of the Kerala High court will hear a criminal appeal in a sensational murder case soon.

Justice A. Hariprasad and Justice N. Anil Kumar will resume the hearing of the criminal appeal in the Harihara Varma murder case at the court hall 1 B at 11 a.m. on May 11.

The lawyers, the Prosecutor and the Court officer in the case will also have to turn up wearing masks to mark the resuming of proper sitting of the court during the COVID-19-induced lockdown period.

Resuming on May 18

The Kerala High Court and most of the trial courts had resorted to virtual proceedings in a limited scale after the country went for lockdown. The High Court will resume its functioning on May 18 after the summer vacation.

Usually, the judges in the Division Bench would sit next to each other exchanging notes and discussing the legal points raised by lawyers among themselves during the hearing. However, the pandemic has changed the way the courts are functioning and judges are forced to sit apart.

There is enough space on the dais for the judges to maintain the physical distance between each other, judicial sources said.

Norms

All social distancing norms prescribed by the State Health authorities will be followed during the court proceedings.

The court hall will be fumigated before resuming the hearing. Only the three lawyers who are representing the appellants, the government pleader representing the State and the Court Officer will be permitted inside the court hall.

Hand sanitisers and other safety measures will be provided to them as mandated in the Break the Chain campaign.

Air conditioner will not be operated in the court hall since the High Court has a centralised air conditioning system. Health authorities had earlier issued advisories against operating centralised air conditioning system to check the spread of the pandemic.

General public and other lawyers would not be allowed entry to the court hall, judicial sources said. Earlier, a trial court had convicted five persons for murdering Harihara Varma, a businessman who was reportedly into the business of precious stones, in 2012.

The arguments in the case, which had over 90 witnesses, may extend for three more weeks. The Bench had heard the arguments in the case for nearly three weeks, before breaking the sitting due to the pandemic. The summer vacation also led to the postponement of the arguments.

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The article earlier mentioned that the hearing will resume on April 11 instead of May 11. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 5:34:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/judges-to-resume-hearing-wearing-protective-gear/article31510166.ece

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