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The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has issued instructions for precautionary measures to be undertaken by the High Court as well as the District and Subordinate Courts in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
The functioning of the High Court has been restricted to urgent matters until March 31, 2020. Further it has been specified that Advocates, litigants and parties-in-person have to mention the details of their matter, showing the urgency before the concerned Registrar Judicial of the High Court through e-mail by 3:00 PM of the previous day. Upon satisfaction about the urgency, the Court may hear such matters.
Apart from that, the following precautions are also to be followed:
The Bar Associations and the Advocates of the High Courts as well as the District Courts are to ensure that entry of litigants is restricted to cases where the presence is unavoidable;
Bar Associations should ensure that there is no crowding in the Court complex, including the lawyers' chambers
Registrar, Judicial and Judicial officers of subordinate Courts should ensure the sanitisation of the court complexes and availability of sanitisers in court premises;
Thermal screening for visitors should ensured through the Health Department;
All official functions involving gatherings would be deferred;
Canteens and Bar rooms should not to remain operational till further orders.
The High Court has also issued certain directions especially to the District Courts, including the following:
Requests for exemption from personal appearance of accused should be considered liberally;
Special Traffic Magistrates are to deal with only urgent matters pertaining to release of seized vehicles;
Unnecessary crowding in the lock ups be curtailed and appropriate steps to be taken by all the Principal District & Sessions Judges in
consultation with the prison authorities;
For granting remand to the accused, for recording evidence, production of under trial prisoners, video conferencing is to be put to use ;
Lok Adalats, Legal Services Programmes and Mediations Programmes
to be deferred till further orders;
Services of local commissioners should be availed of for the purposes of recording of evidence in civil matters.
In final argument matters, as far as possible, written submissions should be obtained from the parties/their counsels so as to minimise the time for oral arguments
The Subordinate Courts have further been advised to establish a help line in every District and Muffasil Complex for updating the lawyers about their cases and answering queries.
The Courts have been further asked to have a dedicated team be constituted in each District Complex for taking stock of the situation on a day-to-day basis and to take appropriate remedial steps.
[Read the notifications here]