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The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed from June 1, when the High Court resumes limited physical functioning. (SOP Karnataka High Court)
The notice clarifies that advocates can be accompanied by only one colleague, and an authorized clerk, who would only be permitted to enter the court premises on showing identity proof.
It was instructed further that every person entering the Court premises should mandatorily wear face masks all the time. Court staff are required to wear gloves throughout and shall use sanitisers.
Every person entering the Court premises shall be subjected to mandatory screening, and only such persons who are found to be asymptomatic will be permitted entry.
Social distancing is required to be followed within the Court premises and at the entry/exit points. Co-operation with the medical screening team and the Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) has also been called for.
Entry to the general public shall be strictly prohibited, except if ordered by the Court.
The notice also recommends the downloading and installation of the Aarogya Setu app by all those who enter the Court premises.
Here are some of the pointers mentioned in the notice regarding filing of cases, seating arrangements, and listing of matters:
Filing of cases is permitted by two modes - physical filing and e-filing.
Advocates/parties-in-person/clerks will have to apply for seeking date and time for physical filing of matters.
Applications shall be sent to email@example.com at Bangalore; firstname.lastname@example.org for the Dharwad Bench; and email@example.com for the Kalaburagi Bench.
Payment of court fees shall be made online through the “Online Copy Application/Court Fee Payment” – portal of High Court of Karnataka.
In case of urgency, a brief note explaining the reasons should be accompanied with the petition/appeal.
If the Chief Justice considers the prayer favourably, then the date of hearing and time will be informed to the applicant.
This procedure shall hold good for filing of cases after June 1 as well.
Starting from June 1, eight courts - two Division Benches and six Single Benches - shall function.
The above arrangement of sittings shall be as per the roster fixed by the Chief Justice.
There shall be five sessions in total :
I Session from 10.30 am to 11.30 am;
II Session from 11.40 am to 12.40 pm;
III Session from 12.45 pm to 1.30 pm;
IV Session from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm;
V Session from 3.45 pm to 4.45 pm;
In the forenoon session, the Registry shall post urgent matters for hearing on interlocutory applications, preliminary hearing and admission matters.
The forenoon session hearing will be through video conference.
The virtual court sittings will also be held in Court Halls. The sittings would be arranged by ensuring that in between two Court Halls, there will be one Court Hall vacant.
In the afternoon session, preliminary hearing matters and final hearing matters shall be posted as directed by the Chief Justice. These matters will be heard by physical courts (regular hearing).
For Sessions 1 to 3, not more than 30 cases shall be posted, which shall be split into 10 cases per session.
For Sessions 4 and 5, final hearing matters or such the matters which are agreed to be taken by consent of advocates for being disposed of finally, shall be listed. These will not exceed 10 matters.
Advocates shall be dissuaded from making any request for pass over, except during the specified session. In case such request is not granted, the matter would be adjourned to the next week or to a date as fixed by the Court.
The notice clarifies that only a maximum of two advocates would be allowed to enter the Court Hall at a time.
No other paralegal staff like clerks and interns would be allowed into the Court Hall to carry files, books etc.
Clerks should keep the bags of the advocates outside the Court Halls, in the designated racks/shelves provided.
BBMP or Municipal Corporation to disinfect the Court Halls at least once a day or every alternate day on conclusion of proceedings for the day.
The Registry shall ensure that all courts function with fans only.
The usage of laptops/tablets (in silent mode) inside the Court Hall so as to reduce the volume of paper.
The Registry shall ensure that all windows and doors of Court Halls are kept open for facilitating flow of fresh air.
Advocates are requested to make their submissions within time schedule of 15/20 minutes and time slots can be allotted during the designated sessions.
Advocates shall ensure that no congregation takes place in the corridors of the Court.
Before entering the Court Halls, advocates shall use sanitisers. Wearing of face masks while entering the Court Hall and during the course of hearing is compulsory.
At no point of time shall the the total number of advocates inside the Court Hall exceed 20.
Advocates can occupy the adjacent vacant Court Hall while waiting for their matters, by maintaining social distancing.
This apart, judges are also requested to constantly use sanitisers, face masks, and gloves, if necessary.
The notice also contains information on the procedure for delivery of certified copies, space for notaries and oath commissioners, area for rectification of office objections, and creating awareness surrounding COVID-19.
Earlier, the Karnataka High Court decided that after more than two months of conducting sittings only through video conferencing in view of the COVID-19 lockdown, it would commence limited functioning from June 1 onwards.
[Read the SOP here]