The Allahabad High Court has decided to resume physical hearing in open court from Wednesday (July 14, 2021) after nearly four months of virtual hearing due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to hear in open court was taken by a committee of Justices headed by Acting Chief Justice, Munishwar Nath Bhandari. The Court shall continue to function in the virtual mode of hearing too. Prior notice will have to be given to the office of the Registrar General for virtual hearing from now.
In the guidelines issued by the Registrar General, it has been said that only those lawyers who have case hearings and have been fully vaccinated will be allowed inside the court premises. For this, they will have to keep their vaccination certificates with them and show it at the time of entry without any protest, failing which physical hearings may be withdrawn.
The guidelines also state that not more than 10 lawyers shall be present in a courtroom and no crowding will be allowed. The lawyers will have to mandatorily follow the COVID-19 protocol and accordingly wear face masks and maintain social distancing.
The Chambers will remain closed for now, however, if the physical hearing of cases as planned remains successful then the committee shall consider opening the chambers.
Other important highlights of the guidelines:
- During the physical hearing also, learned Advocates would be permitted to opt for a virtual hearing with advance information to the Registry, thus e-mode would also be operational till further orders.
- Only those advocates would enter the High Court premises whose cases are listed, and for that, they will show the listing of the case on mobile or by other modes.
- The robes prescribed for learned Advocates shall remain suspended till further orders.
- Consumption of ‘paan’ ‘gutka ‘tobacco’ inside the premises of the High Court will be prohibited. Spitting in the premises of the High Court is prohibited and will attract punishment.
- Frequent sanitization of the premises of the High Court, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact viz door, knobs, chairs, tables, etc. will be ensured.
- In case 50 or more COVID-19 cases for three consecutive days then the physical hearing of cases would get suspended automatically till further orders.