The Karnataka High Court has issued a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to govern hearings at all its Benches - principal Bench at Bengaluru and Benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi - from November 8.
As per the same, all benches will hear all cases via hybrid mode with the option for lawyers to choose between physical and online mode.
The High Court has, however, requested lawyers to prefer online mode.
"All benches shall hear all the cases by hybrid mode of both physical and online in both sessions. The members of the Bar are requested to prefer online mode," the SOP said.
Th SOP has also prescribed strict COVID protocol for entry to and conduct within the High Court premises.
Every person entering the court premises including advocates, parties-in-person, staff members and litigants should preferably wear proper double face mask including one N95 face mask, the SOP mandates.
"Wearing of masks is compulsory in the Court halls, Bar Association Premises, offices as well as in the Court compound. Anybody found not wearing mask shall be immediately required to leave the premises," the SOP made it clear.
Staff of the High Court should wear hand gloves all the time and use sanitizer as indicated in the health advisories already issued and web-hosted on the website of the High Court.
Further, the entry/access shall be provided to advocates at the Principal Bench at Bengaluru only through the gates situated at court hall Nos.22 and 39, for the time being.
"Entry of vehicles of the advocates from gate no.3 and vehicle parking of vehicles of the advocates on the eastern side of the building at the Principal Bench at Bengaluru is prohibited for the time being. Entry of vehicles of only the high court staff shall be allowed from gate no.3," it was stated.
However, the practice of dividing the cause list into five sessions has been discontinued. Single cause list will be issued showing the commencement of the Court Session as 10:30 a.m.