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Kerala High Court To Revert To Virtual Hearings From Monday Amid COVID-19 Surge In State

Hannah M Varghese
14 Jan 2022 11:10 AM GMT
Kerala High Court To Revert To Virtual Hearings From Monday Amid COVID-19 Surge In State
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Following suit of many Courts across the country, the Kerala High Court has decided to revert to functioning through online modes from January 17, 2022, Monday due to the COVID-19 surge in the State. A notice to this effect was issued by the Registrar General of the High Court on Saturday with the following directions:Sitting of all Benches in the High Court will be through video...

Following suit of many Courts across the country, the Kerala High Court has decided to revert to functioning through online modes from January 17, 2022, Monday due to the COVID-19 surge in the State. 

A notice to this effect was issued by the Registrar General of the High Court on Saturday with the following directions:

  • Sitting of all Benches in the High Court will be through video conference. However, in exceptional cases, the concerned judge may decide if any particular case is to be heard in physical mode;
  • Filing of cases in the High Court will continue as per the modified instructions issued by the High Court;
  • Entry of Advocates' Clerks shall be limited for filing purposes only;
  • Entry of the public to the High Court shall be restricted;
  • A separate box will be placed in the Atrium of the High Court for dropping the physical case files for filing;
  • The physical presence of court staff and officers in the High Court will be regulated.

The decision was initially taken by the Administrative Committee of the High Court in its recent meeting chaired by Chief Justice S. Manikumar. The shift to online proceedings was finalised after a discussion with the Bar Association. Advocate Joseph John, Chairman of the Kerala Bar Council had confirmed this decision on Friday. 

It was also indicated that physical hearings may resume after a month if the situation is under control by then, on February 11, 2022.

The Court was proceeding with hybrid hearings since mid-November 2021 in the wake of Covid-19 cases being under control in the State. However, with the recent rise in positivity rates, the High Court is considering shifting back to virtual proceedings. 

Before this, it was functioning online for more than a year. The Court had then decided to restore physical sitting w.e.f 22.11.2021 and a notice issued in this regard had laid down the conditions to be followed during physical proceedings.

It was also clarified that if anybody demands a virtual hearing on account of any personal reasons, that will be considered as well. 

Physical hearing was resumed after Kerala High Court Advocates' Association filed a representation seeking the same. Thereafter, members of the Association organised a protest near the premises of its office seeking expeditious action on their representation to resume physical hearing and filing.

Click Here To Read/Download The Notice

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