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COVID-19: Functioning Of Madras HC Restricted To Hear Urgent Matters For Three Weeks; Advisory Issued For Subordinate Courts [Read Circulars]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
18 March 2020 5:52 AM GMT
COVID-19: Functioning Of Madras HC Restricted To Hear Urgent Matters For Three Weeks; Advisory Issued For Subordinate Courts [Read Circulars]
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The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court on Tuesday issued certain administrative directions for the High Court at the Principal seat at Madras as well as its bench in Madurai, for allowing 'minimum of compulsory functioning' of courts, in light of the prevalent COVID-19 pandemic.

The high court has suspended the final hearing cause list for three weeks and has decided to take up only urgent matters on mention. It has also suspended all the Mediation and Arbitration proceedings and all the activities of Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority and Puducherry Legal Services Authority (except in urgent cases), for three weeks.

Inter alia, it has been directed:

  • All entrants will be subjected to compulsory thermal scanning;
  • Gate passes will not be issued to any litigant unless there is a judicial direction by court compelling a litigant to be personally present;
  • Only those lawyers whose case is listed or want to make an urgent mention should visit the court;
  • Law interns and clerks may be granted exemption, after their seeking permission;
  • All Bar rooms, canteens, court museum, etc. should be closed and activities relating to mass gatherings should be suspended;
  • Stationery/ Photostat facilities, etc. may operate only between 10.30am to 12.30pm;
  • Lawyers/ litigants, etc. should vacate the Court premises by 5pm;
  • Court staff should adopt a two-shift work schedule;
  • State Judicial Academy, as per instructions from the Executive Chairman, should postpone all avoidable activities for three weeks.

Vide another circular, the high court has also issued similar directions to all the Civil and District Courts in the State as well as the in the UT of Puducherry. The circular states:

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  • Overcrowding should be avoided and all persons entering the court must undergo thermal screening;
  • Courts will not insist on the presence of the parties or under trial prisoners, unless it is unavoidable;
  • No adverse/default orders will be passed against non-appearance of parties/witnesses and their requests for exemption will be considered favourably, subject to any exceptional circumstances;
  • Functioning of Mediation Centre should be suspended for three weeks;
  • Video conferencing be put to optimum use for hearing arguments, recording evidence, production of under trial prisoners, etc.;
  • Authorities will ensure proper hygienic conditions at all places, at all times;
  • Adequate medical staff with requisite equipments will be deployed at all courts' premises.
  • Appropriate directions for screening and sanitization may be issued for the benefit of juvenile justice homes, observation homes, shelter homes, lock-ups and jails;
  • Read Circulars



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