In view of the impending threat posed by COVID-19 pandemic, the Madras High Court has restricted its functioning to only two division benches and five single benches to hear urgent matters for three weeks, starting tomorrow, the Hindu reported.
As per a circular issued by the Registrar General of the high court, the court will have two benches dealing with all urgent fresh Criminal and Civil matters separately.
Further, there will be five single benches- three on the criminal side and two on the civil side, the constitution and jurisdiction whereof will be indicated in the cause list.
The Advocates may approach these benches for extension of any interim orders that are due to expire in forthcoming three weeks.
The circular also states that all matters where petitions are presented and where limitation is likely to expire, such papers may be accepted by the Registry and they will be placed before the appropriate benches as and when the court resumes normal functioning.
Inter alia, all the lawyers have been instructed not to operate from their chambers or to invite their litigants, unless unavoidable.
Earlier, on March 18, the High Court had 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.
Through a separate circular issued today, the High Court has also directed all its subordinate courts to take apposite steps to confine functioning to hear only urgent matters.
All the civil and district courts in both the State of Tamil Nadu as well as in UT of Puducherry have been asked to grant general adjournment orders for next three weeks and appoint staff on rotational basis.
The High Court has also cautioned that it will be monitoring all the activities of the subordinate courts through video conferencing.