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[COVID-19] Advocates who are appearing in Districts Courts need not wear coats, bands and ties: Delhi HC directs

Aditi Singh

In pursuance to the decision taken by its Committee for Preparation of Graded Action Plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Delhi High Court has eased the dress code for advocates who are appearing in the Districts Courts.

It has clarified that the advocates appearing in the District Courts need not wear coats, bands and ties till further orders.

However, they shall adhere to the remaining dress code as prescribed under the Advocates Act, 1961, it is added.

In its letter addressed to the Districts Courts in the city, the High Court has also directed that all urgent hearings, as far as possible, be conducted through video conferencing.

The High Court has also directed for establishment of video conferencing facilities in District Courts to cater to those Advocates/Litigants who are not in a position to handle video conferencing from their respective homes/offices.

In case video conferencing is not feasible in a given case, the High Court has allowed the District Courts to hold court-room hearings after strictly following the social distancing norms.

The High Court has clarified that cases in which arguments have already been heard and the order/judgment has been reserved, must be given precedence.

Meanwhile, the Committee for Preparation of Graded Action Plan also took cognizance of the fact that no hearings have taken place in the Family Courts in the city since the functioning of the courts was suspended.

Tis Hazari District Courts
Tis Hazari District Courts

Consequently, it resolved that the Family Courts in Delhi would start taking up the matters as per the directions issued by it. Broadly, these directions are as follows:

- Order/Judgment which stand reserved shall be pronounced in on a priority basis.

- Fresh petition under Section 13-B(2) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 will be permitted to be filed only through e-filing module of CIS as developed by e-committee of Supreme Court.

- Hearings, with respect to all such freshly filed petitions under Section 13B (2) of Hindu Marriage Act, shall be conducted through video-conferencing.

- In case, the lockdown is extended, all the matters, except for petitions u/s 13-B (2) Hindu Marriage Act and final argument matters of more than 5 years old cases, be adjourned en bloc.

- Efforts shall be made to dispose of all final arguments matters after asking each side to send point-wise written submissions. The Court may, wherever found appropriate and necessary, hear oral arguments through video-conferencing, with advance notice to counsel/parties.

- Filing of non-urgent/routine matters shall also be permitted through e-filing module with the rider that these matters would be taken up for hearing as and when the normal and regular functioning of the courts resumes.

The Committee for Preparation of Graded Action Plan also considered the issue of using central air-conditioning system in the High Court during COVID-19, after a petition concerning the same was taken up by the High Court on judicial side.

The Committee has asked the Public Works Department to conduct a survey with regards the re-installation of ceiling fans in the Court. The Committee is also considering procurement of pedestal fans/wall fans as a replacement for central air-conditioning.

Read the Letter and the Minutes of the Committee:

Delhi HC Letter for DJs 30 April.pdf
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Minutes dated 28.04.2020 - Committee for preparation of Graded Action Plan.pdf
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