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Kerala High Court Extends Validity Of All Interim Orders Till February 21 Amid COVID-19 Surge

Hannah M Varghese
18 Jan 2022 1:18 PM GMT
Kerala High Court Extends Validity Of All Interim Orders Till February 21 Amid COVID-19 Surge
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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday extended the life of all interim orders passed by the High Court and all courts and tribunals falling under the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court for another month taking into consideration the surge in Covid-19 cases and the Test Positivity Rate in the State. A Full Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar, Justice Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Shaji...

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday extended the life of all interim orders passed by the High Court and all courts and tribunals falling under the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court for another month taking into consideration the surge in Covid-19 cases and the Test Positivity Rate in the State. 

A Full Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar, Justice Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Shaji P. Chaly in its order stated: 

"Interim order passed by this court on 19.05.2021 and modified subsequently on various dates, is revived and extended up to 21.02.2022."

As such, the Bench revived an earlier order it had passed on 19, May 2021 in which it had issued directions for the extension of interim orders. In the order passed on 19.05.2021, the High Court had extended the life of its interim orders, orders from matters relating to Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and interim bails

The Court also deemed it fit to extend the validity of these interim orders in light of the recent directions passed by the Supreme Court relaxing the limitation period to file cases under all general and special laws across the country till February 28.

Accordingly, their validity has been extended till 21st February 2022.

The decision was made after considering the views of Advocate General K.Gopalakrishna Kurup, ASGI S.Manu and President of the Kerala High Court Advocates' Association Advocate Rajesh Vijayan in open court. 

They submitted that the detailed order passed by the Full Bench of the Court on May 19, 2021, maybe revived subject to certain modifications as ordered on subsequent dates.

Convinced by the submissions, the Court decided to revive the earlier orders passed by it in the exercise of the powers conferred under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution and Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The State has been witnessing a surge in Covid positive cases and has been functioning with certain restrictions since the onset of 2022. 

This had prompted the Centre to issue a circular restricting the staff strength by 50% in Government Departments. 

"Test Positivity Rate in Kerala as on 17.01.2022 is 33.06%. Cases of Covid-19 are alarmingly increasing. Outbreak of the surge, has certainly put the litigants, lawyers and even the functioning of the court in difficult stage. Hence a Full Bench of this court resolved that all the proceedings in the High Court, as well as the courts in district judiciary would revert to virtual mode of hearing. On the administration side, appropriate directions have been issued as regards the monitoring of the entry of stakeholders and staff besides to adhere to all the Government Orders issued from time to time," the Court noted. 

The Court had previously extended the life of interim orders till 26th July. However, they were further extended till August 6. Before this, they were extended till June 29th.

Kerala has been witnessing a tremendous surge in the Covid-19 positive cases as of late. This has obstructed the normal proceedings of the Court and has slowed down the procedures of trial. 

The matter has been posted to be taken up on February 21. 

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 30

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

Click here to read/download the order dated 19.05.2021

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