The Bombay High Court on Thursday extended the operation of its previous order allowing all advocates registered with the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa and registered clerks to travel in local trains on daily passes issued by the High Court, till December 1.
The matter came up before the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni and AA Kumbhakoni Advocate General for the State of Maharashtra placed a compilation of orders passed by the Government after the previous order of the High Court.
As Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa's counsel Senior Advocate Milind Sathe attempted to make his submissions, Chief Justice Datta asked him whether he had read today's newspaper. Court was referring to the news item stating that the State government has written to the Indian Railways seeking permission for opening local train services to all with staggered timings. Court said-
"Distinct changes in opening up of activities upon easing of lockdown restrictions are noticed. Employees of various sectors have now been allowed to travel by local trains, during the non-peak hours."
Dr. Sathe sought to argue that timings for lawyers to travel may be changed, especially while returning from work. However, Court did not entertain the same and noted-
"We do not propose to interfere at this stage. It would, however, be open to the Government to address such concerns, if at all, the situation is conducive therefore.
Further progress made during the next one month shall be reported on 1 st December, 2020, when this set of writ petitions shall be listed once again. It is, however, made clear that the earlier orders dated 15th September, 2020 and 9th October, 2020 with regard to production of certificate and issuance of passes for availing train services by the lawyers requiring to attend physical hearings before the Courts as well as registered clerks being required to fle matters physically, shall continue till the next date."
Court had already passed orders dated September 15 and October 9, first allowing lawyers appearing in physical hearing before the High Court to travel in local trains and then allowing lawyers in the Mumbai Metropolitan region to travel in locals along with registered clerks. After Court asked the State to contemplate along with other stakeholders allowing lawyers to travel in locals for professional work unrelated to Court, State allowed all Advocates registered with the State bar council to travel along with registered clerks.