January 8, 2022 1:58:33 am
In view of the rising Covid-19 cases, the Gujarat High Court will move to virtual proceedings from January 10. It also directed all courts under the district judiciaries to move to virtual proceedings.
In two circulars issued by the HC Thursday through the registrar general, the standard operating protocol for virtual proceedings was laid down.
It was stated in the circulars that such a decision was taken “having regard to the safety of all stakeholders viz., the lawyers, litigants, visitors to the court premises and court staff and with a view to assist the efforts made by both the central and state governments to prevent spread of Covid-19…”
Virtual court proceedings will be held over the Zoom platform and the livestream of the HC proceedings will continue.
For district judiciary courts however, judicial custody and police remand of an accused shall not be granted through video conferencing although extension of judicial custody can be extended through video conferencing.
It has also been instructed that wherever physical appearance of a litigant/payee or beneficiary is necessary in district judiciaries’ court for purposes of verification in case of payments of motor vehicle accident settlements, land acquisition and resettlement cases, maintenance and alimony cases, mutual divorce settlements etc, arrangement must be made in time-slots at designated rooms in the court complex.
It was also specified that advocates or parties-in-person “shall maintain decorum and shall not use inappropriate language while sending emails to the Registrars considering the fact that the Registrars are District Judges.”
No advocates or parties-in-person will be permitted to be present in court halls during a virtual hearing. Only in “exceptional circumstances as in the case of Advocate General, Government Pleader, Public Prosecutor or Additional Solicitor General and Prosecutors such presence will be permitted” as may be decided by the concerned judge of the HC. No entry of lawyers or litigants is allowed in the district judiciaries’ court premises.
The HC after going virtual in March 2020, had resumed physical proceedings on August 17, 2021.
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