After the Supreme Court Monday issued directions to the high courts and trial courts on functioning via video-conferencing in view of COVID-19, Bombay High Court issued a notice Tuesday stating it will conduct hearings on extremely urgent matters at its principal seat in Mumbai on April 8 only through video-conferencing. In doing so, the high court has modified its March 26 direction of conducting urgent courtroom hearings through two judges each that would sit on April 8 and 15 at its principal seat in Mumbai and benches at Aurangabad, Nagpur and Goa. The HC conducted courtroom hearings on April 3. The HC, however, has not announced any decision on hearings through video-conferencing for its benches in Aurangabad, Nagpur and Goa.
On Monday, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde-led bench had emphasised that the courts will have the power to restrict entry into the courtroom to maintain distancing. The apex court granted a free hand to the high courts to devise modalities and conduct hearings through video-conferencing and other means in view of the coronavirus outbreak. It directed the trial courts to make appropriate arrangements for litigants who cannot access video-conferencing facilities.
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