Delhi High Court
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Suspension of physical work can't continue indefinitely: Delhi HC seeks full cooperation from lawyer bodies to re-start physical hearings

The Delhi High Court has written to various lawyer bodies on the issue.

Aditi Singh

Stating that suspension of physical work in courts cannot continue indefinitely, the Delhi High Court has requested the Bar Council of Delhi, as well as the Bar Associations in the city, to render their fullest cooperation to its decision to soon start a graded resumption of physical hearings in courts.

A Letter addressed to the lawyer bodies by Registrar General Manoj Jain reads,

“Hon’ble the Chief Justice has directed me to convey his request to all of you to render fullest cooperation so that the decision of graded resumption of physical hearings in Courts is implemented smoothly while adhering to the norms of social-distancing and the guidelines contained in the proposed SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).”

Earlier this month, the Court had notified that that subject to the complete availability of public transport and the pandemic situation remaining stable, the gradual re-opening of physical courts was possible from September 1 onwards.

Writing to the various lawyer bodies in this regard, including the Delhi High Court Bar Association and Coordination Committee all Districts Courts Bar Associations of Delhi, the High Court acknowledged the receipt of representations from several quarters for the resumption of physical functioning of the courts.

It has clarified that the decision to not allow the physical opening of courts was taken with a view to save precious lives of all the stakeholders in the judicial system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resumption of physical functioning of Courts in such times is not an easy decision to take, since the Courts are a place where a large body of people congregate which includes litigants, advocates, clerks, service providers such as stenos, typists, photocopiers, stationers, court staff and judges. The risk of rapid spread of Covid-19 virus is particularly high where people congregate in large numbers in any place, particularly, in a closed environment.”, the letter reads.

At the same time, the suspension of work in the Courts physically, cannot continue indefinitely.
the letter adds.

Referring to its decision to gradually open courts from September onwards, the High Court has thus informed that the same would require the preparation of detailed Action Plans and the evolution of Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) and their strict compliance.

It is further informed that the High Court and District Courts are actively engaging in the process of evolving the SOPs and that the same would be shared with all the Bar Associations after it is finalised.

To prepare and formulate a proper plan for the resumption of physical hearings in the High Court, inputs and suggestions have been sought from the Delhi High Court Bar Association as to which jurisdiction would be best-suited for the resumption of physical hearing at the initial stage.

Read the Letters:

Letter dated 16.08.2020 For BAR Associations and BCD.pdf
Letter to DHCBA 17 August.pdf
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