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Bombay HC refuses to hear plea after advocate removes facemask inside courtroom

Wearing of facemask mandatory for lawyers, even during arguments: HC

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: February 27, 2021 10:33:27 pm
Covid-19 protocol, Covid-19 SOPs, Bombay High Court, Bombay High court advocates, covid-19 india, covid-19 mumbai, mumbai news, indian express“It is made clear that under no circumstance shall devotees be allowed to enter the temple premises for taking away pious food allowed by this order,” the court said.

While Covid-19 cases are rising in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra, a Bombay High Court judge earlier this week pulled up a lawyer after he removed his face mask despite the guidelines in place, and refused to hear his plea by de-listing it from the board.

While doing so, the court referred to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for resumption of physical hearing at the Principal Seat at Mumbai, which stipulated wearing of mask as Covid-19 protocol at all times, even during arguments in the courtroom.

On February 22, a single-judge bench of Justice Prithviraj K Chavan had listed a civil application in a civil appeal, to be argued by advocate Nikhil Wadikar, who was instructed by advocate Nandu Pawar for the appellants.

“The counsel for the appellant has removed the mask despite guidelines,” the HC observed.

The judge referred to the SOP guidelines, which mandated ‘strict norms’ of physical distancing, and also stated that entry into the courtroom for purpose of attending physical hearings shall stand restricted to advocates, registered clerks of lawyers for limited purpose of delivering bulky case papers and parties appearing in person pursuing the case without any legal assistance.

Moreover, the guidelines also laid down norms to be followed by persons who are permitted to enter the court premises or courtroom. The norms included wearing of mask at all times, even during arguments in courts, and appearance in usual court attire, along with adherence to all the directions issued by central and state government pertaining to Covid-19 protocols.

Even before the concerned matter was called out for hearing, the advocate for the appellant, who was present inside the courtroom, had removed the mask and flouted the guidelines. Justice Chavan noted in the order, “The matter is removed from the board.”

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