Resume physical court hearings in J-K from Feb 14: Chief Justice

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With the improvement in Covid-19 cases, the J&K and Ladakh High Court on Wednesday ordered resumption of the physical hearings from February 14.

Reviving the January 30 order, Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal permitted hearings through physical mode with the restriction that in no Court room more than ten (10) advocates remain present at a time.

“The District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals in UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh shall also start functioning through physical mode,” the order.

“Entry of advocates into the Court rooms before District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals shall be restricted to 5 advocates only at a given time,” it reads.

The guidelines and protocols for prevention of Covid-19 contagion including wearing of masks, frequent use of hand sanitizer and maintaining safe distancing norms are mandatory for all the entrants into the Court premises, the order reads.

“Only those advocates whose cases are listed in the Courts and who are fully vaccinated shall be allowed entry in the Court rooms.”

He said entry of litigants, clerks and agents of the Advocates into the Court rooms shall remain prohibited for the time being.

“Entry of witness(s) and accused person(s) only shall be permitted in District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals provided they are fully vaccinated and subject to strict compliance of SOPs pertaining to the containment of Covid-19 infection.”

He said entry in the District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals shall be permitted to only fully vaccinated persons from the outer gate of the Court Complex.

“Judicial custody remands shall be given only through video conferencing as far as permissible,” the order reads, adding, “The modified guidelines will come into effect from 14 February, 2022.”

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