Delhi High Court, District Courts To Start Restricted Physical Hearings

Delhi High Court, District Courts To Start Restricted Physical Hearings

Delhi High Court’s functioning was restricted to urgent matters from March 16 last year

New Delhi:

Delhi High Court and district courts will start physical hearings in a restricted manner from September 6 and August 31, respectively, said the high court registry on Thursday.

The high court, through two separate office orders, announced that resumption of physical hearing is subject to the scale and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic remaining under control.

The orders clarified that the high court as well as the district courts shall permit hybrid/video conferencing hearing when a request to such effect is made by any of the parties.

“The Hon’ble Full Court has further been pleased to resolve that physical hearings in this Court be resumed in a restricted manner w.e.f. 06.09.2021, provided the scale and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in the NCT of Delhi remains well under control,” the order issued by Registrar General Manoj Jain in relation to the high court reads.

It added that the number of benches that would hold the court physically shall be constituted as per the directions of the Chief Justice and the remaining benches shall continue to take up the matters through video-conferencing.

The order in relation to the district courts said “The Hon’ble Full Court has further been pleased to resolve that physical hearings in the District Courts in Delhi be resumed in a restricted manner w.e.f. 31.08.2021, provided the scale and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in the NCT of Delhi remains well under control.”

The Principal District & Sessions Judges and Principal Judge, Family Court (HQs) have been directed by the high court to prepare the roster of judicial officers in such a manner that every judicial officer holds physical court once a week while the others continue to hold courts through video-conferencing as per the existing system.

Cases listed before the high court between August 16 to September 3 have been adjourned en-bloc to dates in October.

On July 22, the high court had said that it might resume physical functioning on experimental basis from August 16.

On April 18, the high court had said that from April 19 onwards it would only take up “extremely urgent matters” filed this year. Similar orders were issued on April 23 and May 15.

Prior to that, on April 8, it had decided that from April 9 to April 23 it would take up matters “through virtual mode only” in view of the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The high court had commenced complete physical functioning from March 15 onwards. Subsequently, it had said that virtual or hybrid proceedings would be held on the request of lawyers.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March last year, the court was holding proceedings through video conference. Its functioning was restricted to urgent matters from March 16 last year.

Thereafter, from March 25 last year, the functioning of the high court and district courts was further restricted and no physical hearing was being conducted due to the spread of COVID-19.

Subsequently, from September last year a few benches started holding physical courts everyday on a rotation basis.

Some of them also started holding hybrid proceedings, wherein lawyers have the option to attend the hearing via video conference instead of appearing in person.

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