The Punjab and Haryana High Court has called for reports from all District and Sessions Judges in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh regarding possible opening up of courts once restrictions are lifted. A plan would have to be put in place for courts to resume their working in a phased manner, the HC said in the communication.
The District and Sessions Judges have been asked to take inputs from various stakeholders including the Bar Associations, the District Administration, the local health authorities and local police and submit the suggestions to the HC for preparation of a “composite plan” for the smooth functioning of the courts in post lockdown period.
The courts across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have heard a very negligible number of cases since the beginning of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. The High Court itself hears only cases of extreme urgent nature and that too after lawyers or litigants seek permission over email.
The Executive Committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association in a resolution Wednesday said the litigants have been left at the mercy of police and other authorities “in absence of any procedure of hearing” before the HC. While citing the examples of functioning of other HCs through video conferencing, the Bar Association said the Punjab and Haryana High Court also needs to evolve a similar system where cases not only of very urgent nature, but cases of “regular urgency” can also be taken up.
“Even old ordinary and regular cases, with the consent of parties, be allowed to be taken up where some urgency can be shown by the counsel and written synopsis also be permitted to be filed,” reads the resolution, adding one or two regular courts can be held for those not familiar with the video conferencing system and counsels in batches of 5-10 can be allowed to attend the courts.
The Bar Association has also requested the HC to end the need for mentioning of anticipatory bails, regular bails, habeas corpus and protection matters and asked it to list them automatically through the video conferencing mode.
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