Delhi High Court To Resume "Restricted" Physical Functioning From August 16
The Delhi High Court Thursday said it may on experimental basis resume from August 16 its physical functioning which was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.An administrative order of the high court said this will be done in a restricted manner subject to further orders based on evaluation of the situation of the pandemic in Delhi."The Full Court has further been pleased to observe that physical hearings in this court may be resumed in a restricted manner with effect from August 16, 2021 on an experimental basis, subject to further orders based on evaluation of the situation of the pandemic in the NCT of Delhi," the order issued by high court Registrar General Manoj Jain said.Meanwhile, the order said all the benches of the high court, registrars and joint registrars (judicial) shall continue to take up urgent matters, as per the existing arrangement, through video conferencing till August 13.The order also said that all the pending routine or non-urgent matters listed in the high court between July 26 and August 13 shall be adjourned en-bloc to corresponding dates between September 10 and September 30.A similar order has been passed with regard to district court in Delhi where also physical hearings may resume in a restricted manner from August 16 on experimental basis.It also said that with effect from July 24, all the judicial officers shall endeavour to take up all matters of their respective courts through video conferencing and the weblinks of all the courts shall remain functional throughout the working hours.Presently in the district courts, the judicial officers have been taking up urgent matters and 'final arguments cases' of their respective courts through video conferencing till July 23 while the other matters are being adjourned.On April 18, the high court had said that from April 19 onwards it will only take up "extremely urgent matters" filed this year. Similar orders were issued on April 23 and May 15.Prior to that, on April 8, it had decided that from April 9 to April 23 it will take up matters "through virtual mode only" in view of the rise in COVID-19 cases.The high court had commenced complete physical functioning from March 15 onwards.Subsequently, it had said that virtual or hybrid proceedings would be held on the request of lawyers.Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March last year, the court was holding proceedings through video conference. Its functioning was restricted to urgent matters from March 16 last year.Thereafter, from March 25 last year, the functioning of the high court and district courts was further restricted and no physical hearing was being conducted due to the spread of COVID-19.Subsequently, from September last year a few benches started holding physical courts everyday on a rotation basis.Some of them also started holding hybrid proceedings, wherein lawyers have the option to attend the hearing via video conference instead of appearing in person.