Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court
Litigation News

Life of interim orders of courts, tribunals in Kerala extended until June 30 in view of continuing COVID-19 Lockdown [Read HC Order]

Bar & Bench

The Kerala High Court on Monday extended the life of all interim orders passed by courts and tribunals in Kerala until June 30 in view of the COVID-19 lockdown being extended until May 31.

As stated in the order passed by a Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justices CT Ravikumar and Shaji P Chaly,

"... interim order granted in respect of orders passed by Courts/ Tribunals upon which High Court exercises supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227, which are due to expire during the lock down period, are extended till 30.6.2020. However … the aggrieved party is at liberty to move for vacating such orders before the appropriate Courts/Tribunals, as the case may be."
Kerala High Court

Similarly, the Court has also extended its earlier stay regarding recovery proceedings directing the State Government, LSG Institutions, the Government of India and Public Sector Undertakings owned and controlled by the State/Central Governments to refrain from taking any coercive action until June 30.

However, "liberty is given to the State Government/LSG Institutions, Government of India and others stated supra, to approach this Court, seeking necessary permission for initiating/proceeding with recovery proceeding."

Regarding Arrests and Bail

On March 25, the High Court had already directed that the State refrain from making any arrests during the pandemic period, except where it is inevitable or the offence is heinous or it is required to maintain law and order amid the COVID-19 pandemic management.

Certain concerns were raised today that in some cases the recovery of material objects may not be possible without arrest. The Court has, therefore, ordered, "In respect of cases relating to recovery of material objects used in the commission of offences and such cases, State is at liberty to take appropriate decisions."

Notably, to prevent an apprehended rush in filing bail applications as soon as the lockdown period is over, the Court has directed that those released on interim bail during this time may surrender before the jurisdictional court within a 7 day period after the lockdown ends. In this regard, today's order reads,

"Considering the rush in filing the bail applications of those persons released on interim bail, we deem it fit to extend the period to seven days and the prisoners to appear and file bail applications before the concerned jurisdictional courts within seven days from the end of the lock down period."
Kerala High Court

Read the Order:

Kerala HC Order - May 18.pdf
Preview

The High Court passed the order in a physical sitting held today for the first time in over a month after the Court restricted its functioning amid the pandemic.

From today onwards, the High Court is to function at full strength with some single benches hearing matters via Video Conferencing, whereas other benches would be sitting physically at the High Court while adopting social distancing and allied measures to guard against the viral infection.

On Friday, the Court had notified that it would re-open in this manner, provided that there were no restrictions placed with respect to attendance in Government officers.

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