Keeping in mind the aftermath of COVID-19, the lockdown, and the cyclone, the Calcutta High Court issued a notification on June 5th, 2020 regarding its functioning.
June 11th, 2020 is when normal functioning of the High Court resumed. Hygiene and social distancing are a priority. Hence the hearings will be on a small scale. The ranking of the matters scheduled for hearings will be in terms of urgency. The Court has decided to hear bail matters through Video Conferencing. The idea is to start with Thursday’s followed by Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from June 15th 2020.
A particular set of matters for the day indicates the Bench of every Courtroom. The aim is to complete the set before the end of the day. If the hearing of any issue faces delay, a new date will be decided. The revised allocation is to avoid spillover of cases and limit the number of lawyers in Court.
The Courtroom is open for three court staff other than the Judges on the Bench. A Courtroom will not allow more than eight litigants and lawyers. If there is a need for more lawyers for any particular matter, a separate allocation is required. The Registrar of the Court is to divide such cases only when the numbers of lawyers in the courtroom are less than eight.
Upholding strict social distancing measure is of utmost importance. These measures include a two-minute gap when there is a completion of a matter and beginning of a new issue. The Bar council rooms and the library need to have only 25% of the staff.
The notification restricts the number of people allowed in the lift by limiting it to three. The canteen services remain suspended for the time being. If they don’t have pending matters Lawyers are to stay home, as per the advice. The Principle bench will hear cases about Port Blair. The virtual or physical form depends on the urgency of the case. 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, and 2 pm to 4 pm are the time slots for the Court’s working. The notification further mentioned instructions about attire, filing of matters, etc.
The notification is extensive and drafted, keeping the necessary safety norms in mind.
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