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In view of the 21 day lockdown announced yesterday evening to curb the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), court work has been suspended in the Madras High Court and subordinate courts in Tamil Nadu, save for few exceptions.
A circular issued last night states,
However, two notifications issued on March 23 and March 24, concerning certain sitting arrangements of the Court already made would not be affected.
The latest circular also states the following:
Entry to both Benches of the Madras High Court will remain prohibited for the next three weeks, or until further orders, whoever is earlier.
Entry into subordinate courts will remain suspended, subject to specific permission granted by the Principal District Judge/ Principal District Judge (in charge)/ Principal June/ the City Civil Court, Chennai/ Chief Judge of the Court of Small Causes/Chief Judge, Puducherry.
Administrative or judicial work at both Benches of the High Court would be communicated through the concerned registrars.
All court staff of the subordinate courts shall remained stationed at their residence subject to directions by the respective Principal District Judge, Principal Judge or chief Justice as the case may be to carry out urgent duties.
No matter, unless urgent and imminently emergent shall be entertained except with the permission of the presiding judges dealing with subjects as assigned on March 23.
If permission is granted, the lawyers/litigants will be accordingly informed of the venue and mode of addressing the Court either through video-conferencing or otherwise.
No matter in the subordinate courts shall be entertained unless extremely urgent or emergent except with the permission of the concerned Principal District Judge/Principal District Judge-in charge/Principal Judge/Chief Judge, as the case may be.
All officers and staff members of the High Court are to keep their mobile phones or contact numbers in an active state to receive or execute any communication issued by respective superiors for the discharge of their duties.
The circular ion adds that, "In view of the unpredictable situation, the High Court and the subordinate courts shall until further orders continue to function as per the aforesaid directives subject to any further decision being taken on the administrative side either by the Hon’ble Chief Justice or the Administrative Committee or the Full Court, as the case may be."
[Read the Circular]