Tamil Nadu

Madras HC says no to complete physical hearing from Monday due to surge in COVID-19 cases

A view of the Madras High Court in Chennai. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Madras High Court has decided to conduct its proceedings only through virtual or hybrid (part physical and part virtual) mode from Monday in view of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in some pockets of Chennai and other parts of the State. The decision has been taken as a precautionary measure and to ensure a safe working environment, according to a notification issued by its Registrar General.

The notification issued on Saturday stated that Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee has ordered that all judges in the principal seat of the High Court as well as those in Madurai Bench shall hear the cases either fully through virtual mode with both the government counsel and private lawyers appearing through video conference or through hybrid mode where government counsel alone would appear in physical court.

The current practice of some judges conducting their court proceedings through physical mode alone would be stopped forthwith.

The law officers and standing counsel alone would be permitted inside the court campus. “Entry of all other advocates, advocate clerks, litigants and parties-in-person inside the High Court is prohibited from March 8. All the law chambers will remain closed from March 8. Advocates who wish to take the case papers may do so on March 6 and March 7,” the notification issued by C. Kumarappan read.

It also stated that special counters would be established inside the court for filing of case papers, applications for copies of order copies and for receipt of order copies. The case papers could be filed, and order copies could be obtained from those counters subject to strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Unhappy with the notification, the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) as well as Women Lawyers Association (WLA) have called for a boycott of all courts and tribunals on Monday to protest against the High Court's decision to close the lawyers chambers situated inside the court campus.

MHAA president G. Mohana Krishnan said the lawyers had been finding it very difficult to continue their profession without being allowed access to their chambers. He said it was unfair to close down the chambers within a week after opening it. WLA president Louisal Ramesh too expressed similar sentiments.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 9:22:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-says-no-to-complete-physical-hearing-from-monday-due-to-surge-in-covid-19-cases/article34005006.ece

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