The Karnataka High Court on Sunday, issued directions that 'only urgent matters', will be taken up for hearing by it, and the district and trial courts, in wake of the Novel Coronavirus, declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. The State Government has declared a complete lockdown of malls, pubs, schools, colleges theatres and other public places, after the first death, in India, due to the virus was reported from Karnataka. The directions are to operate till further orders.
In a memorandum issued by the Registrar General, states Chief Justice Abhay Oka, has issued following directions.
1: The High of Karnataka in its principal seat at Bengaluru and benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi will take up only urgent matters.
2: Cause list will be displayed as usual and the courts will hold sitting at 10.30 am. Only those matters on the cause list which are stated to be urgent by the members of the bar or parties in person will be taken up at the discretion of the court. The other matters will be taken up provided all the contesting parties on both the sides consent for taking up the matters. In respect of remaining matters on the cause list, dates will be assigned at the discretion of the concerned courts.
3: The enclosed general advisory should be given wide publicity by displaying it at prominent places in the court premises and by circulating it to the members of the bar as well as staff.
4: Members of the bar as well as staff be advised to strictly follow the said general advisory by taking all precautionary as mentioned therein
5: Members of the staff who are showing the symptoms as disclosed in the advisory should immediately consult Government health department officials nd in emergent cases contact Arogya Sahayavani at phone no 104.
6: From Tuesday, March 17, the visitors to the high court, (except members of the bar) will be subjected to thermal screening by the officials of the health department of the state government. The members of the staff will be subjected to thermal screening in the high court offices.
7: Guidelines regarding use of masks are appended along with this memorandum. All concerned are requested to follow.
Directions issued by the Chief Justice for District Courts.
1: All the district courts and the trial courts will take up only urgent matters.
2: The cause list will be displayed as usual and the courts will hold sitting in the morning at usual time. Only those matters on the cause list which are stated to be urgent by the members of the bar and parties in person will be taken up at the discretion of the court. The recording of evidence of witnesses shall be postponed except in exceptional cases. Video Conferencing can be resorted to. The other matters will be taken up provided, all the contesting parties on both the sides consent for taking up the matters. In respect of the remaining matters on the cause list the dates will be assigned as per the discretion of the concerned courts.
3: Even in urgent matters the presence of the litigants should not be insisted unless it is mandatory, for example in case of applications for anticipatory bail.
4: Members of the staff are advised to strictly follow the said advisory by taking all precautions.
5: No programmes shall be conducted by the courts or legal services authority where there are a large number of participants. Mass gatherings on account of any functions should be avoided.
6: New court buildings or premises which are ready for occupation in all respect should be immediately occupied without holding any formal function. In case holding of a formal function is necessary the same can be held only after future directions as issued.
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