The Bombay High Court issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for subordinate courts in Maharashtra, Goa, Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu dated June 3 declaring that Courts in Goa and the Union Territories are set to begin functioning with 50% staff and all subordinate courts in Maharashtra will function at 15% staff.
From tomorrow, subordinate courts within municipal limits of Pune, Solapur, Aurangabad, Nashik, Malegaon, Dhule, Jalgaon, Akola, Amaravati and Nagpur will begin functioning in two shifts totalling 6 hours with the first shift being between 10 am to 1 pm and second shift from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm with 15% of the staff present in each shift on rotation.
Apart from matters falling under the urgent category, these Courts shall also deal with all bail applications which were filed prior to the lockdown, also matters where witness action is not required (e.g. Cases fixed for Judgment / Order), Appeals and Revision Applications, which are fixed for final hearing and cases posted for judgments, and hearing of interlocutory applications and such other matters.
The office working shall be of four hours in each shift, i.e. half an hour before and after the judicial working hours.
Following the SOP, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at the Esplanade Court, Sayali T Dande issued a circular on Saturday with precautionary measures to be adopted by court staff, advocates and litigants at metropolitan courts in Mumbai.
The SOP issued by the High Court and CMM's circular, both recommend all advocates, staff members and litigants to download the Aarogya Setu App. The SOP and the circular state-
"Each and every visitor (including Advocates and staff members) desirous of entry in the Court Hall shall be advised to download Aarogya Setu App in their mobile handsets. Any exemption in this regard shall be considered by the concerned ACMM/ MM (Incharge Administration) or the Judicial Officer authorized by him, upon his subjective satisfaction as to the cause put forth for such exemption."
Moreover, persons who may have symptoms of fever, sore throat, cough, running nose or breathing difficulty are advised to restrain themselves from visiting the Court premises. Any visitor found with temperature above 38 degree Celsius or having apparent symptoms of Covid-19 or coming from a containment zone shall not be allowed entry in the Court premises.
Wearing masks within the court premises is mandatory and a minimum of 2 metre gap between people has to be maintained while queuing and on entering the Court building. Also hand sanitizing stations shall be installed in office premises (especially at the entry) and near high contact surfaces. Judicial Officers may, if the situation demands, use face shield as well transparent acrylic sheets partitioning the dais from the addressee.
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