In the wake of the spreading coronavirus, the Bombay High Court issued a notification Saturday, directing functioning of the principal seat in Mumbai along with its benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Goa will hear only urgent matters from March 16.
The Bombay High Court’s acting chief justice Bhushan P Dharmadhikari issued the order, following the footsteps of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court which passed a similar resolution on Friday. The Bombay High Court has over 3000 employees and hundreds of litigants and lawyers visit the court building every day.
The notification stated that precautionary measures will be taken for a week as per advisories issued by World Health Organisation (WHO) and Government of India against mass congregation and in view of public health experts opinion to ensure safety of all litigants, lawyers and staff members.
Moreover, it further said, advocates and litigants that they can mention matters showing urgency which can be heard upon satisfaction of the Court. Ad-interim and interim relief subsisting in the cases shall continue to operate and dates for subsequent hearings would be given to non-urgent matters through computer-generated system which would be showcased on the website.
The notification also appealed all Bar Associations and lawyers to restrict the entry of litigants in the court, and in cases where presence is unavoidable, one person may be called.
Ensuring complete safety in regards to health, the HC requested cooperation with the instructions of staff on duty in larger public interest.
The High Court on Friday had issued a notice to litigants, public and advocates in the state that they should avoid visiting the court complexes unless necessary. HC staff across Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad have been instructed against marking their attendance on biometric system and instead to sign regular muster for attendance from March 16.
The Bombay Bar Association (BBA), body of advocates practicing at the Bombay High Court had issued an urgent notice on Thursday requesting precautionary steps for the litigants, lawyers, staff and visitors. The body had also requested justice Dharmadhikari to undertake measures such as placing temperature guns at security checks of the High Court and asked lawyers to avoid handshake greetings.
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