In a suo moto PIL registered on matters relating to COVID-19 pandemic, the Chhattisgarh High Court has extended the life of all interim orders passed by it and by the courts subordinate to it, which have expired or will expire on or after March 16, till May 15, 2020.
The extension is also applicable to all stay orders and orders granting bail.
The order has been passed by a division bench comprising of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Manindra Mohan Shrivastava, keeping in view "grave hardships" inflicted on litigants, due to implied postponement of routine hearing.
The bench observed,
"invoking the powers conferred under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, it is hereby directed that all such interim orders/stay orders/interim bail orders passed by this High Court, all the Courts/Tribunals upon which the High Court exercises supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, which have expired or will expire on or after 16.03.2020 shall continue till 15.05.2020 or such other order as may be passed from time to time as the exigencies may require, except where any order to the contrary has been passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in any particular matter during the intervening period."
Notably, the working of all courts in the state, including the High Court has been suspended till April 14.
However, it has been clarified that in case of any urgency in any matter, the parties concerned may approach the Registrar (Judicial) of the High Court, through e-mail and once permission is granted, the same can be dealt with accordingly.
With regards the safety of children in conflict with law as well as children in need of care and protection, who are being fostered at juvenile homes, the bench has directed the State Government and the Collectors of all Districts to take effective measures for their medical checkup, hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness.
"Supply of required quantity of mask, soap, handwash be also ensured. The State authorities enjoined with duties and functions under the Juvenile Justice Act, towards supervision of Child Care Institutions shall also ensure that all such institutions are taking aforementioned safety measures," the order states.
Inter alia, the court has directed the State Legal Services Authority to ensure forthwith release of prisoners, as identified by the High Powered Committee of the state to eligible for release on interim bail, as a measure to de-congest prisons, in compliance with the Supreme Court's order.
"The Member Secretary, State Legal Services Authority would inform that pursuant to the Supreme Court's order…the High Powered Committee constituted for the State of Chhattisgarh…to determine the class of prisoners who can be released on parole or on interim bail, has ensured release of identified prisoners. Based on the recommendation dated 26.03.2020 of the aforesaid Committee, directions have been issued for release of the identified prisoners on parole or on interim bail, as the case may be…
The Member Secretary is directed to take steps for implementation of the above order of the Supreme Court in its entirety," the bench observed.
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