In the wake of the rising Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, the Delhi High Court has resolved by circulation to extend the arrangement of hearing of matters till 16th January, 2021.
The Full Court took this decision by circulation and it was to consider the further extension of the arrangement of hearing of matters by the High Court of Delhi beyond 30.11.2020. The circular read: “Considered in view of the escalating situation of the pandemic of coronavirus in the NCT of Delhi, it is resolved that the present system of hearing the matters before this court shall continue upto 16.01.2021. All the pending routine/non urgent matters listed before this court from 01.12.2020 to 16.01.2021 be adjourned en bloc.”
Office Order of the Delhi HC dated 23.03.2020 had directed for the complete closure of the High Court as well as the Courts subordinate thereto till 04.04.2020, particularly in view of the lockdown announced in Delhi and the request of the Bar Associations. This Chief Justice of India further extended this till 15.04.2020 in light of the declaration made by the Government of India about the nationwide lockdown. Consequently, the Full Court resolved to continue functioning during the entire month of June in order to make up for the loss of court working hours and to ensure restoration of normalcy in the functiomning of the courts at the earliest. The Administrative and General Supervision Committee suspended the functioning of the Courts till 03.05.2020 due to the extension of nationwide lockdown. A periodic review of the situation led to the extension of the suspension of functioning of the High Court and the subordinate courts. The committee held in the last meeting that a plan would be evolved for gradual opening of physical courts from 1st September subject to the complete availability of public transport and the situation in Delhi remaining stable. An SOP for Physical Functioning of Delhi HC and SOP for Delhi District Courts were accepted. Suggestions from the judges of the High Court along with a report of the Delhi High Court Bar Association were to be placed before the Full Court. The Full Court approved this SOP with certain modifications, and in view of the pandemic, the suspended functioning was extended till 30.09.2020. The physical hearing of cases was ordered to five bences, on a rotational basis, while the remaining Benches would continue taking up matters though video conferencing. The Full Court reviewed the status of physical functioning on 10.09.2020 and resolved that a suitable number of Benches, for physical hearing, be constituted w.e.f. 15.09.2020. On 07.10.2020, it was resolved that the present system of hearing would continue till 30.11.2020.