Amid unrelenting covid-19 cases, Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal on Monday extended by 31 May order regarding the virtual hearing of the cases in both wings of the High Court as well as in the District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals in J-K and Ladakh.
“Taking note of the daily rising number COVID-19 infection cases and the prevailing situation due to the rapid spread of (the) infection, the High Order No. 259 of 2021/RG dated 26.04.2021 is extended upto 31st of May, 2021,” reads an order by the Chief Justice, a copy of which lies with GNS.
“It has been observed that daily some Judicial Officer and officials of the District and Subordinate Judiciary are reported to have tested COVID-19 positive. Therefore, the Judicial Officers of the Subordinate Judiciary are at liberty to work through virtual mode from their respective official residences,” the Chief Justice said. However, for remand purposes or for meeting any judicial exigency, the District Judge shall prepare a sitting roster for District Judges and Magistrates, the Chief Justice added.
On 26 April, the Chief Justice had ordered that filing as well as hearing of cases in both wings High Court as well as in the District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals shall be conducted through Virtual Mode till 15 May which now has been extended till the end of this month.
The Chief Justice had directed that the entry of litigants, public and clerks of the Advocates into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall be strictly prohibited in both wings of the High Court.
“For filing of cases, Registrars Judicial of both wings of the High Court shall create a dedicated email address of their respective filing counters and notify the same to the advocates/litigants by making it available on the website of the High Court.”
‘Ordinarily Before Notice’ matters shall be taken up by each Bench unless urgency in respect of any ‘After Notice’ matter is shown to the satisfaction of the Bench concerned, the 26 April order reads.
“Physical hearing in respect of any listed matter will be at the discretion of the Bench concerned subject to the satisfaction of the Bench regarding extreme urgency involved in such matter and thereafter such case shall be taken up for physical hearing on the date fixed by the Bench” reads the order, adding, “On account of virtual hearing, entry of lawyers in the High Court premises is not required unless any advocate is permitted for physical hearing in any extremely urgent matter.”
In order to decongest the sections/offices/Courts, the Chief Justice had said the officials shall be permitted to function in batches with 50 percent reduction on rotation basis. The roster in this regard, shall be formulated by the Registrar Judicial of the concerned wing.”
Regarding District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, the Chief Justice ordered that entry of litigants, public and clerks of the Advocates into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall be strictly prohibited. (GNS)