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The Government has notified new rules to regulate the procedure for appearing party-in-person before the Madras High Court. Named the High Court of Madras (Conduct of Proceedings by Party–in-Person) Rules, 2019 (2019 Rules), these rules will govern litigants who wish to plead, appear and argue his or her own case before the High Court and not through an Advocate.
The 2019 Rules require such litigants to personally approach the filing counter of the High Court. In this regard, Rule 4 states,
“The presentation of any matter or proceedings by the person not represented by an Advocate shall be made by such person personally in filing counter of the High Court.“
This rule also requires the party-in-person to submit at least one identity proof with full address and photo, along with the applicant’s mobile number and e-mail ID. As per Rule 7, the papers presented by the party-in-person in the filing counter as per stipulated office timings shall be scrutinized by the concerned Scrutiny Branches within one week.
Rule 5 makes it mandatory to file the application for appearing party-in-person after having it duly attested by an Oath Commissioner or Notary, along with the proceedings seeking permission to appear in-person. The rule also prescribes the following with respect to the application form.
The Rules also envisions a party-in-person committee, to oversee the processing of applications and to guide litigants in appearing party-in-person. The committee is to be constituted by the High Court’s Chief Justice and has been given the following powers
The High Court is ultimately vested with the discretionary power to determine whether a party would be allowed to appear in person. In this regard, Rule 10 contains a non-obstante provision, which states,
“Notwithstanding anything contained in these Rules, the concerned Court before which the matter lies, may, in its discretion, permit a litigant/s to appear in-person and conduct proceedings in Court.“
Rule 9 clarifies that these rules are not applicable in matters concerning bail, temporary/transit bail, parole, furlough and habeas corpus petitions.
Rule 11 provides that the 2019 Rules would be applicable to pending and future matters before the High Court.
[Read the Rules]