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Arrangements made for both physical court sittings and hearings via video conferencing have also been notified. Only 6 Advocates will be allowed at a time inside the Courtroom in case of physical sitting.
It has been notified that the Kerala High Court will reopen on May 18 and function with its full sitting strength from Monday, May 18 onwards, provided there are no Government restrictions put in place regarding attendance.
If there are further restrictions made with respect to attendance in Ernakulam Government offices by the Administration, it is intimated that arrangements for reporting to duty would be published accordingly on the High Court website.
The notification issued in this regard on Friday also intimates that the Court is taking steps to arrange transport facilities between District Courts and the High Court in coordination with the Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSRTC), given the restrictions on public transport amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
It is added, "Those who wish to avail the facility shall follow the instructions/ guidelines find by the KSRTC authorities in this regard and no complaints in this regard will be entertained."
A notification has also been issued detailing the arrangements made for Benches to conduct both physical sittings and hear matters via video conferencing. As per this notification, there will be 5 Admission Courts for Writ Petitions; 2 Courts for Bail Applications and one admission Court for Civil/Criminal Miscellaneous matters which will hold sittings through Video Conferencing only.
All Division Benches and remaining Single Judges hearing Petitions and final hearing matters will hold physical sittings in Court halls. Precautionary directions issued for the conduct of physical sittings include, among other directions, the following:
Only six Advocates will be allowed at a time inside the Court hall excluding the Government Pleaders/Public Prosecutors.
Only 10 seats will be provided inside each Court hall and seats will be arranged in the veranda outside the Court halls ensuring social distancing.
Separate lists for the forenoon and afternoon sessions will be published.
There will be no dictation in open Court
It is also intimated that cases shall hereon be filed physically except in the case of bail applications. Advocates/Parties desirous of filing cases are to send a request on the previous day through e-mail. The Registry shall intimate the alloted time to the applicant by e-mail. The filing time will be from 10:00.a.m to 01:00 p.m.
Further, persons allotted a time to file their cases shall put the case file(s) in separate boxes to be placed in the atrium on the ground floor, where sufficient officials of the Filing Section will be deployed.
Work relating to preparation of the case files including affixure of stamps, stitching etc. will not be permitted in the atrium. Separate entry and exit points will be provided. The filing will be regulated by a virtual queue system.
Entry of public to the High Court will be restricted. Entry to those permitted will only be through three entry points. Advocates having their matter listed in any Court alone will be allowed entry to the High Court.
All Advocates entering the Court are to don face masks. Details regarding sanitiser availability and other security and hygiene measures gave also been detail in the notification.
In a separate notice issued today, the High Court has also intimated that the causelist for May 18, when the Court is now scheduled to physically reopen, would be published tomorrow.