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The decision was taken after a meeting of the representatives of the three wings of the Bar in the High Court, and on factoring that "not all litigants or Advocates may be able to access the video-link facilities."
The Calcutta High Court has notified modalities for resuming physical Courts, albeit on a very restricted scale, while following elaborate safety norms to guard against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A notice issued to this effect issued on Saturday notes that while the functioning of the Court through video conferencing would be most desirable in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, not all litigants or Advocates may be able to access the video-link facilities.
Therefore, physical functioning is being restarted on a limited scale to ensure that the court remains accessible at all times.
Those litigants who would like to appear before the Court either in person or through their Counsel may do so, the notice says.
The decision was taken after a meeting of the representatives of the three wings of the Bar in the High Court.
Earlier, the Bar Association of Calcutta High Court had written to the Chief Justice urging that the decision to resume physical hearing be rolled back for now. It had been requested then that the Court to consider resuming its physical functioning only after public transportation services were resumed following the lockdown, and after the Court premises were properly sanitised.
On Saturday, it was intimated that upon resumption of physical court on a restricted scale, even hybrid hearings will be permissible, in the sense that some parties may appear via video link and others through physical appearance.
A detailed plan to effectuate this reopening of the High Court from June 17 has been detailed in the notice issued by the Court.
The Benches that would sit will take up only extremely urgent matters that have been listed before the Court and in chronological order according to the date of filing.
The Benches will sit from 11 AM to 1 PM and then 2 PM to 4 PM. Only listed matters will be taken up. Urgent mentioning of cases will be allowed after the Board before a Bench is over.
In case of more than ten matters being listed before a Court, hourly clusters will be prepared for the matters for the benefit of the litigants and parties. The notice also specifies the roster for the Benches scheduled to sit from June 17 onwards.
The notice further lays down details regarding filing of matters and the entry into the court premises through designated gates.
The norms of social distancing will have to be maintained by all the persons coming to the Court.
Additionally, in general instructions, it is stated that the dress code for the lawyers will be as advised on by the Bar Council of India. The BCI had earlier directed that the dress codes may be relaxed to do away with the lawyers' gown and jacket, as a safety measure amid the pandemic.
The situation will be reviewed and monitored by the Chief Justice of the High Court from time to time. All the persons who are not involved in a listed case or are instructed to appear before the Court shall refrain from coming to the premises till all restrictions on movement are lifted.