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The causelist shall specify in advance the courts which shall take up matters through physical hearing mode and those which shall function through video conferencing.
The Delhi High Court has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to govern the resumption of physical hearings in court premises from September 1 onwards.
The causelist shall specify in advance the courts which shall take up matters through physical hearing, and those which shall function through video conferencing.
Another notice issued today states that apart from five benches that will take up physical hearings, the Court will take up matters for hearing via video conferencing. This arrangement for suspended functioning of the Court will continue till September 30.
Broadly, the procedure rolled out by the High Court is as follows:
Matters to be heard
All the courts, whether conducting proceedings through physical mode or through video conferencing, shall take up the following matters as per the roster:
- Urgent matters;
- Non-urgent matters filed during the lockdown. The number of such cases shall be, however, restricted from 3 to 5 before each Bench;
- Regular matters where the consent for final hearing has been received from both the sides.
The causelist for physical hearing shall ordinarily not exceed 25 cases and the court building shall be handed over to the housekeeping staff for complete sanitization by 3 pm on every working day.
On the basis of advance joint-information received from the advocates, a case may be fixed for physical or virtual hearing. Such request can be given on the prescribed proforma, scanned and emailed five working days prior to the date of listing.
At the time of e-filing, the concerned advocate shall clearly mention in the prescribed slot whether the matter should be heard through video conferencing or through physical mode.
The existing system of mentioning of urgent matters through the designated link shall continue.
Who can enter?
As per the SOP, entry into the court block, for the purposes of attending physical hearings and virtual hearings, shall stand restricted to:
- Only one advocate per party, whose vakalatnama is on record or who has been duly authorized by such advocates.
- Senior Counsel engaged by any such advocate.
- Registered Clerk only for the limited purpose of delivering heavy and bulky case files of such advocates at the designated point and leave thereafter.
- Standing/Nominated counsel.
- Party-in-person who has no legal assistance.
No entry into the court blocks is permitted to juniors, interns, law students, relative of any party-in-person/litigant, non-registered clerks etc.
Adherence to social distancing norms and hygiene is expected from all within the court complex.
How to enter
- Entry inside the court blocks i.e. Block-A (Main Block), Block-B (Extension Block) & Block-C (New Block) shall be permitted from the designated entry points.
- IT Branch is developing e-solution of sending QR code to the concerned advocate/litigant through SMS/email so that they are permitted physical access on a given day through scanning of such QR Code. Till the time such e-solution is developed, copy of the causelist shall be available at the designated counter near the entry point of the particular court block.
- Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) shall render due assistance in this regard by deputing advocate(s) on rotational basis to facilitate smooth and better management.
- Once the matter is over, advocate/party-in-person shall immediately leave from the designated exit point.
When to enter
- Entry time to any court block shall be regulated as per the time slots mentioned in the causelist for different batches of cases.
- Each batch shall consist of 10 cases.
- No person shall be permitted entry inside the court blocks before the designated time-slot as per the causelist.
- Hearing in the first batch shall begin at 10:00 am.
- There would be a break between hearing of each batch of cases in order to facilitate the sanitization of the courtrooms and other areas.
- Entry in the courtroom shall be permitted to those advocates/party-in person whose matter is called out for hearing and also for the advocates whose item is the immediate next, subject to availability of space.
- Other advocates shall wait outside the courtroom in the designated area.
- Oath commissioners/typists/stamp vendors/etc shall be permitted entry in the court complex as per roster.
- Vehicular entry and pedestrian entry would be permitted only from Gate No.7. The exit of the vehicles would be permitted from Gate No.5 only.
- The litigants, wherever necessary, shall be permitted entry to meet their respective lawyers in the Lawyers’ Chamber Blocks as per the timings fixed by DHCBA.
- Medical facilities in the form of an additional ambulance with complete infrastructure to tackle COVID-19 shall be stationed during the working hours in the High Court. There shall also be a COVID-19 Isolation Room.
- Dry snacks, coffee, tea, water bottle etc. shall be available for sale from the kiosk and canteen.
- Library, Bar Associations Halls, common rooms, canteens (except for take-away) shall remain closed until further order.
- Court-fee counter and scanning facility shall be available and manned by requisite number of officials on a rotational basis.
In the notice on suspended functioning of the Court, it has been intimated that pending matters previously listed between September 1-30, shall be adjourned to dates in November and December.
[Read the SOP]
[Read notice on suspended functioning]