Tamil Nadu

Courts to stay closed for 3 weeks in view of shutdown

Only urgent cases will be heard, either through video-conferencing or in person

The Administrative Committee of the Madras High Court, comprising its top seven judges, held an emergency meeting at the residence of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and decided to suspend operations in all courts across the State for three weeks, in view of the nation-wide lockdown to fight COVID-19.

Court work in the principal seat of the High Court in Chennai, its Madurai Bench and all trial courts in the State would be suspended, and urgent cases alone would be taken up for hearing, either through video-conferencing or in person, after the lawyers and litigants make a mention to the court officials concerned.

“Entry to the High Court at Madras and Madurai Bench shall remain prohibited for three weeks from today or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” the latest circular stated, adding that Registrar General C. Kumarappan and Registrar (Judicial) M. Jothiraman could be reached through their e-mail IDs: regrgenl@tn.nic.in and m.jothiraman@aij.gov.in

Similarly, the Additional Registrar General and Registrar (Judicial) in the Madurai Bench could be reached through thamilj- 1968@gmail.com

Ordering that entry into all trial courts in the State shall be prohibited, the High Court directed the Principal District Judges to notify the e-mail IDs through which litigants and lawyers could contact them for the hearing of urgent cases.

As regards allocation of portfolios to the judges during the period of suspension, the Committee made it clear that the weekly seating arrangements it had made as part of its earlier decision to allow restricted hearings shall continue, and the judges named in that notification would continue to be available for urgent hearing of cases. The Chief Justice also made it clear that until the situation normalises, all anticipatory bail petitions should first be filed before the jurisdictional principal district and sessions courts. Only if such petitions are dismissed by the district courts should the lawyers and litigants approach the High Cour. Noting that public prosecutors in the principal seat of the High Court in Chennai as well as its Madurai Bench would find it difficult to obtain instructions from police personnel spread across the State during the period of imposition of prohibitory orders, the Chief Justice said it would be far easier for prosecutors in district courts to obtain instructions from the local police.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 11:55:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/courts-to-stay-closed-for-3-weeks-in-view-of-shutdown/article31167752.ece

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