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A public interest litigation has been preferred before the Delhi High Court in the wake of the COVID-19 threat, seeking to schedule hearings on "appointment basis" in order to avoid overcrowding of courts. (Aarti Manchanda vs Registrar Delhi High Court)
Filed by petitioner-in-person, advocate Aarti Manchanda, the Petition asserts that calling litigants, witnesses, lawyers to attend matters without fixing a speciifc time for the hearing results in places like the gate pass windows, main entry gates, court corridors, courtrooms and chambers getting crowded.
"..no fair reason is given as to why all litigants are required to report the court at 10:00 AM, when sometimes their matters reach at 12:00 PM or afterwards.. That although, directions of deployment of temperature guns at entry points in court buildings has already been given, the same does not solve the problem of overcrowding in the court premises.", the Petition reads.
The Petitioner has thus sought fixing matters on appointment basis and/or distributing the cause list in time slots in order to curb the issue.
The Petitioner suggests,
".. listing of matters for miscellaneous purposes (can be) from 10:00-11:00 AM, listing of matters on admission from 11:00-1:00 PM, listing of final arguments from 2:00-4:00 PM and so on and so forth."
The Petitioner asserts that accommodating matters at a specific time on appointment basis or on the basis of division of the causelist in time slots is the need of the hour.
In view of the outbreak, the High Court has restricted its functioning to urgent matters.