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'Will Go Back To Virtual Hearings If Physical Distancing Norms Are Not Followed': Justice Gautam Patel

Sharmeen Hakim
18 Feb 2021 6:01 AM GMT
Will Go Back To Virtual Hearings If Physical Distancing Norms Are Not Followed: Justice Gautam Patel
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Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, raised a stink regarding overcrowding in his courtroom. The court warned it would suspend physical hearings and go back to virtual hearings if Covid-19 safety norms are not followed. "There is far too much overcrowding in Court Room 37. Advocates and parties are not observing safety norms and precautions. For this reason,...

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Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, raised a stink regarding overcrowding in his courtroom. The court warned it would suspend physical hearings and go back to virtual hearings if Covid-19 safety norms are not followed.

"There is far too much overcrowding in Court Room 37. Advocates and parties are not observing safety norms and precautions. For this reason, with immediate effect, only those who have matters in Court will be permitted entry. There may be a random check and those without matters will be made to leave," the notice published on the HC's website read.

The Bombay High Court resumed physical hearings on December 1, 2020, while subordinate courts resumed the same, with full capacity, on February 1.

Justice Patel has divided the cases he will hear, in batches, and given each batch a time slot. The notice says that advocate and litigants should adhere to their time slots. "This is for a reason, which should be obvious. Advocates in the next time slot are not to come to Court ahead of time," the notice reads.

The judge further said that if advocates and parties refuse to follow these simple instructions, the court would be constrained to go back to virtual hearing.

"If these minimal precautionary measures are not observed, the Court will immediately suspend all physical hearings and revert to online hearings in all matters.

The high court had suspended physical hearings in April, 2020, and began conducting hearings for urgent matters through video-conferencing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It subsequently began a combination of virtual and physical hearings, and on December 1, 2020, the high court resumed physical hearings for most cases. Currently, all courts in the high court complex function on full capacity and hear all cases through physical hearings from Monday to Thursday.

On Fridays, some courts conduct virtual hearings for cases where the lawyers or parties are not based in Mumbai, or if they request specifically for virtual hearings.

Click Here To Download Notice 

[Read Notice]



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