The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, restored the proceedings in the public interest litigation initiated on its own to address various legal and technical issues that arose before the district and trial courts, from June 1 2020, when they started 'limited functioning', in the state.
The court had by an order dated January 15, observing that "We hope that in the future this court will not be required to initiate such Suo-motu proceedings," had closed the proceedings.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj, on Thursday (May 11, 2021) said, "Considering the situation created by the second wave of COVID-19, further directions are required to be issued for the smooth functioning of the Courts and for the benefit of the litigants and the members of the bar. Accordingly, by recalling the order dated 15th January 2021, we restore the petition. Due to the lockdown announced by the Government of Karnataka, the members of the bar are not able to enter the High Court complexes for rectification of the office objections."
The court issued the following directions for better functioning of the Courts amidst the pandemic as:
- In all those cases where while passing the peremptory orders for rectification of the office objections, time granted to rectify the same has expired or is likely to expire during the period from 26th April 2021 till 11th June 2021 (both days inclusive), the time granted stands extended till 25th June 2021.
- We make it clear that all the cases which were dismissed due to non-rectification of office objections due to the expiry of the period provided in peremptory orders during the period from 26th April 2021 till today (both days inclusive), the same shall be treated as restored and the above extension will be applicable to the said cases.
- For the time being, we direct that the office objections except the objections regarding maintainability and Court fee shall not be raised in any criminal matters. However, when the criminal matters are placed before the respective Benches, if a direction is issued by the Court for rectification of certain objections, the same will have to be rectified;
- Wherever time is granted by the Court for rectification of the office objections which has expired or is likely to expire between the period from 26th April 2021 till 11th June 2021 (both days inclusive), the same shall stand extended till 18th June 2021;
- The above directions shall apply to the Principal Bench at Bengaluru as well as the Benches at Kalaburagi and Dharwad of the High Court of Karnataka.