Tamil Nadu

All T.N. courts to function

Only urgent cases to be taken up

The Madras High Court on Monday decided that its principal seat in Chennai, a Bench in Madurai as well as all trial courts across the State will continue to function despite the proposed imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure from 6 p.m. on Tuesday to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The decision was taken by the Administrative Committee, comprising Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justices Vineet Kothari, R. Subbiah, M. Sathyanarayanan, N. Kirubakaran, M.M. Sundresh and T.S. Sivagnanam. It was made clear that the proceedings shall be restricted to extremely urgent cases for next three weeks.

According to a circular issued by Registrar General (R-G) C. Kumarappan, the High Court shall function with two Division Benches (one for hearing civil cases and the other for criminal cases) and five Single Benches (three on the criminal side and two on the civil side) from Tuesday, and they would take up cases that require immediate attention.

Appeal to lawyers

A request was made to the lawyers to exercise their discretion and restrict filing of cases as far as possible. They were also asked not to operate from the chambers allotted to them inside the High Court campus and desist from inviting their clients to the court campus unless and otherwise the court concerned had ordered for their appearance in connection with a case. Impressing upon the need for curtailing the presence of the court staff too, the Administrative Committee directed the R-G to take a call on rotating the employees on need basis.

It was ordered that personal secretaries, drivers, residential assistants, office assistants and other personal staff of individual judges should make themselves available. A similar arrangement was ordered in the Madurai Bench too.

As far as the functioning of subordinate courts in the State was concerned, the R-G issued a separate circular stating that they should also confine their functioning to extremely urgent cases. The Principal District Judges and the Chief Judge of Puducherry were instructed to ensure strict compliance.

The Principal District Judges were asked to ensure minimum presence of staff. “All subordinate courts are put on guard that their activities are likely to be viewed and monitored through video conferencing by High Court,” the circular said.

Staff disappointed

Several employees of the High Court expressed disappointment over its decision to continue the functioning of all courts across the State, despite a representation made by Tamil Nadu Advocate Association (TNAA), led by senior counsel S. Prabakaran, to suspend court proceedings until COVID-19 threat abates.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:29:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/all-tn-courts-to-function/article31146706.ece

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