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As part of precautionary measures against the coronavirus outbreak, it has been notified that from Tuesday, March 17, the Calcutta High Court would only take up urgent cases in the coming week.
To this end, a notification issued on Sunday states that the cause list for the Calcutta High Court will be published for only those matters which are urgent in nature from Tuesday onwards.
Among various other safety measures, the notification intimates that "Hon’ble Judges may leave the Court complex and release their staff as early as possible."
Additionally, all activities in the Judicial Academy have been postponed from Monday, March 16, until further orders.
It is also informed that the Registrar General has been asked to write to the State for increase of the strength of doctors for the High Court and the District Courts and to provide thermal guns in adequate numbers to check the temperature of every entrant, be it the Judges, Lawyers, staff or litigants.
It has been directed that the presence of staff in all Courts be reduced by at least half and that the staff work on rotation. It is added that any absence of staff on a particular day because of the advisory, shall be treated as ‘On Duty’.
The lawyers have been asked to advise their clients not to visit the Court unless such presence is directed by the Court, while making sure that no default orders shall be passed in their absence.
It is further notified that "instead of physical production of undertrial prisoners (UTPs) from jails, facility of video conferencing be availed of".
All Bar rooms are requested to be closed with the directions that the President and the Secretary of the Bar Associations issue necessary directions in order to ensure that there is no crowding in the Court complex including the lawyers chambers. Entry of interns has also been barred as long as the situation persists.
With regard to the sanitary measures, the Registry has been asked to provide hand sanitizers in all Court Rooms and all Departments in the Court complex for visitors as well as the staff.
The Housekeeping staff has also been asked to maintain hygiene in the Court complex and spray disinfectants on a regular basis.
A review of the situation shall be taken up on March 20.
Prior to the issuance of this notification, an advocate had recently written to the High Court commenting over the lackadaisical approach of the Court in taking action to prevent the litigants and advocates from falling prey to the virus.
[Read the Notification here]