In the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, the Delhi High Court has restricted its functioning to urgent matters from March 16.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the Administration and General Supervision Committee of the High Court, held in the Chambers of Chief Justice DN Patel today, in the presence of other high court judges.
The high court has decided that it will take up only urgent matters from Monday and dates in routine matters will be given by the court master before the court assembles. It has also restricted the entry of interns in the court premises and has directed that fresh intern passes will not be issued until March 31.
Instructions have been issued for installation of thermal scanners at all entries of the court premises and permission for all functions/elections held in the court premises have been withdrawn until further orders.
The high court has also decided to not insist on personal appearance of parties, unless the same is indispensable and has asked all the lawyers not to recommend the issuance of visitor passes. A similar direction has also been made to all the District courts of Delhi. They have been asked to accommodate all parties/witnesses/Advocates seeking adjournment and has asked all courts to "favourably consider" requests for exemptions in all criminal matters.
A further direction has been made to the Delhi International Arbitration Centre, Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre (Samadhan) and the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee to hold proceedings only in emergency situations.
The Supreme Court has also issued a notification restricting functioning of the Court to urgent matters with such number of Benches as may be found appropriate.
Earlier this week, the Delhi High Court had issued a circular requesting Advocates, general public and litigants to avoid unnecessary overcrowding in court premises in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.