Updated: April 16, 2021 9:08:26 pm
THE BOMBAY High Court on Friday extended interim orders passed after April 9 by various courts and authorities in Maharashtra pertaining to eviction, demolition and dispossession that are in operation till May 7 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
The court took a decision in view of the “alarming” situation in Maharashtra due to “exponential rise in active Covid-19 cases” and said the interim orders shall remain in abeyance till May 7, unless directed otherwise in the meanwhile.
The court said all interim orders passed earlier by various courts, subsisting as on April 9, 12, 15 and expiring on April 19 or “soon thereafter” be “unconditionally extended” till May 7 or until further orders “unless specifically dealt with by any judicial order to the contrary”.
A four-judge bench (full bench) of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justices A A Sayed, S S Shinde and P B Varale passed the order.
In December, 2020, the full bench, due to the pandemic’s “improved situation” had said the abeyance orders need not be extended beyond January 31.
On Friday, it noted, “The second wave of the pandemic has been wreaking havoc just as the first wave did in the year that went by.”
The court referred to the state’s April 13 order of imposing restrictions on movement of people and said, “Such measures have rendered it difficult to conduct judicial proceedings in HC as well as other courts/tribunals in the districts/talukas in the physical presence of advocates, litigants and other stakeholders, and with the full complement of officers/staff. As an obvious consequence, access to justice has been hindered.”
The court added that failure of deposit of rent will not immediately make the tenant or occupant liable for eviction till May 7 or further orders passed before that.
“It would be desirable if till May 7 or until further orders, whichever is earlier, removal of encroachers without notice is not resorted to,” the court said and posted further hearing on the suo motu PIL to May 6.
A committee comprising administrative judges of the high court, along with representatives of state, central governments and various lawyers’ associations, decided that the subordinate courts in Maharashtra and Goa will work in one shift of 2.5 hours from April 19.
The trial courts through physical hearing will take up “extremely urgent cases” of remand, bail and urgent criminal and civil matters. A limited number of benches of the High Court will conduct virtual hearings on urgent matters every day.
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