The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the High Court's registry to issue a day's pass to Advocates who are attending physical hearings for travelling in the Mumbai local train. Court passed the order following the State government and the Union of India's statement consenting to the same on an experimental basis.
Division bench of Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni were hearing a batch of PILs filed by Chirag Chanani, Sagar Sahani, Nitin Patil and Ashley Kusher. In the previous hearing, Court had suggested issuing e-passes to lawyers on an experimental basis to allow them to travel by local trains to attend physical hearings after being informed that many lawyers were unable to reach for physical hearings as they did not have any other modes of transportation to reach the court except for local trains.
Advocate General of Maharashtra AA Kumbhakoni as well as Additional Solicitor General of India Anil Singh had fairly consented to consider the said request on an experimental basis. After taking instructions, the AG had placed on record a brief note which would set out the arrangements that can be made for lawyers who are attending the physical hearing before the High Court.
The said note sets out the steps which would be required to be taken by such advocates to obtain a certification to that effect from the Registrar and thereafter approach the Railway authorities for issuance of necessary travel pass. AG Kumbhakoni said that this arrangement would be an arrangement on an experimental basis and only in regard to the advocates who are attending physical hearings before different benches of the Court.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh also took instructions from the railways and submitted that in principle, the railways are also agreeable for this arrangement to be set into motion as suggested on behalf of the State.
Court accepted the arrangement as suggested on behalf of the State and as agreed on behalf of the railways. This arrangement would be in operation with effect from September 18 2020. Hence, the following order:
(i) The concerned advocate who intends to physically appear before the Benches of this Court at its principal seat at Mumbai shall apply to the designated Registrar of the High Court seeking a day's pass relating to the particular date only on which his/her matter is listed for hearing before one of the four Benches of this High Court.
(ii) The designated Registrar only after confirming the correctness of the claim so made in the application in terms of the present arrangement via email will issue a certification of the requirement for a particular day to the concerned advocate.
(iii) Upon receipt of such certification from the designated Registrar, the advocate concerned will approach the railway authorities to obtain appropriate pass/document for travel or ticket permitting him/her to avail the local train services, for the particular day for which a travel permission is required.
(iv) The railway authorities after verifying the pass so issued will issue appropriate travel documents/ticket etc., as the case may be, permitting travel by local train services to the applicant/advocate for the particular day.
(v) The above arrangement would be available to the applicant/advocate only and who satisfies all the above conditions.
(vi) The arrangement will continue to operate on an experimental basis upto October 7, 2020 with effect from September 18, 2020.
Before adjourning the proceedings to October 6, 2020, the Court asserted that the certification which would be issued by the Registrar to the advocates to travel by the local trains, would not be in any manner whatsoever misused by the concerned advocate. In the event, there is a misuse, it would be open for the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa to take appropriate action as may be permissible in law, the bench said.
Advocate Shyam Dewani appeared on behalf of the petitioners, Advocates Parth Zaveri, Advocate Uday Warunjikar and Advocate Ashley David Cushar for Applicants in three separate PILs.