Telangana high court
Telangana high court

Coronavirus: Telangana High Court and trial courts to only take up urgent cases; precautionary measures issued for advocates and litigants

Rintu Mariam Biju

Adding to the growing list of courts taking preventive measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, it has been decided that the Telangana High Court and trial courts in the state will only take up urgent matters till further orders.

The circular calling for the restricted functioning of the High Court states that only one Division Bench and four Single Benches shall function on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of every week, until further orders.

Further, only those counsel whose cases are listed before the Court would be permitted to enter the campus. Additionally, advocates shall be permitted to enter the Court Hall only in batches of five cases each, and the remaining advocates are expected to wait in the corridors.

Although filing of fresh cases is permitted, parties may not be entitled to get them listed before a bench immediately. Lawyers are requested to describe the nature of urgency if cases they arguing are to be taken up on an urgent basis, the circular further clarified.

The circular further states:

"In cases, where the stay is about to expire between 17th March, 2020 to 31st March, 2020, the counsel are requested to inform the Registry, so that these cases can be listed before the concerned Benches and that the stay will be extended automatically by the Court. Therefore, in such cases the presence of the counsel/party is dispensed with."

Moreover, the services of law clerks attached to the judges of the High court will be dispensed with for the time being.

The Bar Association Hall and the lunch room for lady advocates shall remain closed.

On similar lines, the circular pertaining to district courts states that:

"The District Courts and other subordinate Courts are instructed to entertain urgent matters only, such as, bail applications, temporary injunction applications, remand matters, etc. The trial in all other cases be postponed for a period of three weeks from today."

It was further directed that the subordinate courts shall refrain from insisting the presence of parties unless it is completely unavoidable. The requests for personal exemption of accused, witnesses or parties should be considered favorably with no passing of adverse orders, the circular further stated.

Principal District Judges are responsible to check if all the washrooms are maintained well, with liquid hand wash and soaps in place. Further, the judges are directed to ensure that all the staff members and advocates wear suitable masks in the court premises.

The circular further states that,

"A dedicated team comprising of Senior Judicial Officers and Senior Ministerial Staff be constituted in each District Court complex for taking stock of the situation on a day-to-day basis and to take appropriate remedial steps to combat the impending threat of COVID-19."

All advocates have been directed to ask their clients to refrain from coming to the courts unless necessary.

The office bearers of the District Court Bar Associations are to ensure that there is no crowding in the court complexes and that interns are not permitted during this period.

Along with the above, another circular was issued by the High Court wherein it has been informed that all its staff has been exempted from marking biometric attendance until further orders.

[Read the circulars here]

Bio-Metric Attendance-.pdf
High Court Circular dt 16032020.pdf
Subordinate Courts Circular dt 16032020.pdf
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