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In a special sitting held last night at his residence, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka issued special directions pertaining to interim orders and demolition orders in view of the 21-day Coronavirus lockdown [Mohammed Arif Jameel v. Union of India].
The sitting was held hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a 21 day complete lockdown in order to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Bench of CJ Oka and Justice BV Nagarathna issued the following directions so as to ensure that litigants do not suffer due to their inability to approach the Courts of law during this period:
1. All interim orders passed by the Karnataka High Court, all the District Courts, Civil Courts, Family Courts, Labour Courts, Industrial Tribunals and all other Tribunals in the State over which this Court has power of superintendence, which are due to expire within a period of one month from today, will continue to operate for a period of one month. We, however, make it clear that those interim orders which are not of a limited duration and are to operate till further orders will remain unaffected.
2. If the Criminal Courts in the State have granted bail orders or anticipatory bail for a limited period which are likely to expire in one month from today, the said orders will stand extended for a period of one month from today;
3. If any orders of eviction, dispossession or demolition are already passed by the High Court, District or Civil Courts, the same shall remain in abeyance for a period of one month from today;
Further, the Court urged the authorities to go 'slow' in taking action on demolition and eviction of persons. In this regard, the order reads,
"Considering the fact that it will be practically impossible for the citizens to approach the Courts for redressal of their grievances for a period of twenty-one days specified in the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs dated 24th March 2020, we sincerely hope that the State Government, Municipal Authorities and the agencies and instrumentalities of the State Government will be slow in taking action of demolition and eviction of persons."
Karnataka High Court