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"Having lost my own Court clerk to this deadly virus, I can say from personal experience that we must not take this situation lightly", Senior Advocate Nayar says in his letter.
Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar has written to the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court urging against the physical resumption of the High Court Court, keeping in view the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation in the national capital.
The letter comes in the wake of the Delhi High Court intimating to the Bar that it is considering the graded resumption of physical court hearings from next month onwards.
Responding to the High Court's decision to consider the resumption of physical courts, Nayar has voiced the following concerns:
India is recording the highest number of COVID-19 infections per day in the world as per data available on the internet.
Even though the situation in Delhi seems to be improving, one cannot rule out the possibility of fresh infections being contracted as a result of lawyers, litigates and court staff coming in contact with each other.
Resumption of physical hearings would create a situation where the lives of judges, lawyers, court staff, support staff, clerks and litigants would be endangered. More so for persons with health issues and comorbidities.
The resumption of physical hearings (even though for a limited number of benches) would result in an anomalous situation where a lawyer may be compelled to appear on the same day in a physical hearing in one court and a virtual hearing in another. It would mean that the lawyer would have to spend longer than usual within the court premises and use the facilities in the court premises for his virtual hearings as well.
The constant fear of being exposed to the virus will linger in everyone’s mind and in such a circumstance it is not feasible for a lawyer to do justice to his brief.
As such, Nayar has exhorted the Court to reconsider its decision to gradually allow the resumption of physical hearings in Delhi on a graded basis, observing that,
"While we look to having a full-scale resumption of our Court, but I feel that the same cannot come at the cost of endangering lives. Our Court should not resume physical hearings until the situation in the national Capital improves and there are negligible fresh cases."
Nayar also commends the virtual functioning of the High Court so far amid the pandemic, adding that "the time has come to expand the hearings to regular matters as well instead of en bloc adjournments to another date."
On a parting note, Nayar has called on the High Court to take the views of all stakeholders including junior and senior members of the Bar, along with the medical experts before any decision is taken in haste.
Read the Letter: