3 Jan 2022 2:31 PM GMT
In view of the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in the States of Punjab, Haryana, and Union Territory Chandigarh and with a view to ensuring the safety of Judges, Advocates, Staff, and Litigants, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has decided to hear cases only though Virtual Mode from January 5.The decision has been taken on the recommendation of the Special Committee of the HC in consultation...
In view of the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in the States of Punjab, Haryana, and Union Territory Chandigarh and with a view to ensuring the safety of Judges, Advocates, Staff, and Litigants, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has decided to hear cases only though Virtual Mode from January 5.
The decision has been taken on the recommendation of the Special Committee of the HC in consultation with Additional Solicitor General, Union of India, Advocates General for the State of Punjab & Haryana, Senior Standing Counsel & Public Prosecutor U.T. Chandigarh, President, Senior Advocates Bar Association, President & Secretary, High Court Bar Association, Chandigarh.
An official order has been issued in this regard under the orders of the Chief Justice and it further states that the present system of filing, listing, and mentioning of cases will continue as such.
In a separate order issued by the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chief Justice of the HC has directed the District and Sessions Judges in the States of Punjab, Haryana, and Union Territory, Chandigarh to take appropriate measures at their own level regarding hearing of cases through Video-conference/Hybrid /Physical Mode.
They have been directed to take appropriate decisions in consultation with respective Hon'ble Administrative Judge, District Administration, and District Bar Association subject to the assessment of prevailing conditions of Covid-19/restrictions, in the respective Sessions Division as well as Guidelines/Health Advisories and other SOPs issued by the Government of Índia and respective States Government from time to time.
In related news, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and the Omicron variant, the Supreme Court yesterday decided to revert to the virtual hearing mode for the next two weeks. As per the notification released on Sunday evening, it was notified that:
"It is hereby notified for the information of the members of the bar, party-in-person and all concerned that keeping in view the rising number of cases of omicron variant (COVID-2019), the competent authority has been pleased to direct that modified standard Operating Procedure (Sop) Notified on 07.10.2021 for physical hearing (With hybrid option before hon'ble courts will remain suspended for the present and all hearings before the honble courts for a period of two weeks from and with effect from 03.01.2022 shall be through virtual mode only."
In view of the threat of the Covid pandemic and also sudden spurt and a spike in COVID-19 cases in the State of Jharkhand and Ranchi in particular, the Jharkhand High Court has also decided to function in VC mode with effect from today, i.e., January 3.
Further, in view of the threat of the imminent third wave of the Covid pandemic and also the alarming rise in the number of Covid affected cases, the Calcutta High Court has also decided to function through virtual mode only with effect from January 3.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has decided to hear cases through Virtual Mode only from January 4 to January 21 and the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has also decided to revert to Virtual Mode of hearing from January 3, 2022, to January 31, 2022.
On December 30, the Delhi High Court had decided that the High Court and district courts would be functioning through virtual mode only with effect from January 3 to January 15, 2022.
Due to the surge in Omicron variant of Covid-19 cases, Madras High Court has also issued a notification keeping in abeyance the previous notification for resumption of physical hearings completely.
As per the notification dated 2nd January, 2022, Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari has issued directions to follow the virtual hearing, excluding both physical as well as hybrid modes of functioning till further orders. The decision to follow only virtual hearing from 3rd January, 2022, will be applicable both to the Principal Seat at Madras and the Madurai Bench.
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