In light of the outbreak of coronavirus, a plea has been moved in the Delhi High Court asking for timelines to be provided in the cause list in order to avoid overcrowding of court premises.
Filed by Advocate Aarti Manchanda, the petition seeks scheduling of court hearings on appointment basis, or, the distribution of cause list in time slots.
'calling of litigants, witnesses, lawyers to attend matters at fixed time i.e. 10:00 AM or 10:30 AM at District Courts/High Court/Tribunals creates a situation of crowd at various points such as gate pass windows, main entry gate of the court building, court corridors, court rooms and lawyer's chambers', the petition states.
Highlighting the need to protect the well being of the persons who visit courts for various purposes, the petition seeks to strike a balance between the need to take precautionary measures and the rights of the litigants to visit courts.
As per the Petitioner, this balance can be reached by fixing matters on appointment basis and/or
distributing the cause list in time slots in order to curb the problem of overcrowding in court premises.
The Petitioner has also suggested the following arrangement that can be adopted by the court:
'listing of matters for miscellaneous purposes from 10:00-11:00 AM, listing of matters on admission from 11:00-1:00 PM, listing of final arguments from 2:00-4:00 PM and so on and so forth.'
The Petitioner has highlighted no fair reason is given as to why all litigants are required to report to the court at 10:00 AM, when sometimes their matters reach at 12:00 PM or afterwards. According to her, the said direction to all litigants to appear at 10:00 AM often creates crowding of
persons in the court premises, such as parking lots, ticketing counters, etc.
It is further submitted that deployment of temperature guns at entry points in court buildings does not solve the problem of overcrowding of court premises.
'various departments and ministers of various
states have appealed to the people to avoid mass gatherings and maximize social distance in order to avoid overcrowding', the petition has highlighted.
Therefore, the Petitioner has asked for arranging of cause list in a manner that the first 25% matters in the cause list be taken up between 10:00-11:00 AM, next 25% to 11:00-12:00 PM and listing of
matters for arguments from 2:00-4:00 PM and so on and so forth.
Moreover, a direction is also sought for the Registry of the court to mention a particular time for each matter listed in a court.