[COVID-19] Karnataka High Court extends life of all interim orders till January 31, 2021

In a related matter, the Court also sought an explanation from the State government for not conducting RT-PCR tests on more than 700 passengers who returned from the UK.
[COVID-19] Karnataka High Court extends life of all interim orders till January 31, 2021
Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court has further extended the life of all interim orders passed by itself, subordinate courts, and tribunals across the State.

The interim orders have now been extended till January 31, 2021.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka had first extended the life of interim orders by an order dated April 16. This extension was renewed from time to time over the course of the past year.

In November, the Court extended the validity of interim orders till January 7.

The Court has now passed the following directions with respect to extension of interim orders, to ensure that litigants do not suffer on account of their inability to approach the courts during the pandemic:

  • 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 from today. 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

  • 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;

  • 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;

  • 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.

In its order, the Court further expressed that except for permitting the entry of litigants to the court complexes, normalcy in functioning of the courts has been considerably restored. It added,

"Considering the trend of the positive cases of COVID-19 reported everyday in the State of Karnataka during the last one month, it will be appropriate if we extend the interim orders for the last time till the end of this month. If the present downward trend of number of positive cases of COVID-19 reported everyday continues, there will not be any occasion for extending the interim order as well as the order of closure under Section 4 of the Limitation Act, 1963."

In another notification issued, it has been clarified that the said extension of interim orders will not affect the present functioning of the High Courts and the subordinate courts, which is as per the prevailing Standard Operating Procedures.

COVID-19 tests not performed for over 700 UK return passengers

In a related matter, the High Court sought an explanation from the State government for not conducting RT-PCR tests on more than 700 passengers who returned from the United Kingdom.

During the hearing, the State informed the Court that from December 7, 2020, 3,137 people had returned from the UK to India. However, RT-PCR tests were conducted only on 2,292 passengers.

[Read order and notification here]

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