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Discontinue physical sittings until June 30: KHCAA urges Kerala High Court after Police officer who entered Court tests COVID-19 positive

Bar & Bench

The Kerala High Court Advocates' Association (KHCAA) has written to the Kerala High Court Chief Justice S Manikumar urging that the Court temporarily discontinue physical sittings and physical filing as a safety measure, given that a police officer who tested positive for COVID-19 was found to have entered the court premises on Wednesday.

The police officer is stated to have entered the Court premises to hand over certain files to be given to a judge. The Kerala High Court judge, as well as the lawyers present in his courtroom at the time, have reportedly gone into quarantine after the police officer tested COVID-19 positive.

In the wake of these developments, the KHCAA has now raised concern that,

"While the possibilities of further contacts for the officer who came to the Court are less, we may not be able to exhaustively list out all possible contacts of the said person. Further, secondary contacts, ie. primary contacts of the persons who are now in quarantine also cannot be assessed with any kind of certainty. In such circumstances, continuing with physical sitting would be very risky at this juncture."

Therefore, it has been urged that the Court discontinue physical court sittings and physical case filings until June 30 in the interests of safety.

The representation further suggests that the reopening of the court may be considered based on the results of COVID-19 tests of primary contacts of the person who is now tested positive.

In the meanwhile, it is proposed that "The consideration of admission matters on video conferencing can be continued. To enable consideration of all matters a few division benches also may be constituted on video conferencing."

The Kerala High Court has been functioning in a hybrid manner since the second week of May, with some courts hearing matters through video conferencing and other Benches conducting physical Court.

Read the Letter:

KHCAA Letter - June 20.pdf
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