Coronavirus: Calcutta HC, district courts in WB shut

Coronavirus: Calcutta HC, district courts in Bengal suspend

Thermal screening of lawyers being conducted in the wake of deadly coronavirus, at the entrance gate of Calcutta High Court in Kolkata, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (PTI Photo)

The Calcutta High Court and the district judiciary in West Bengal will not function from March 25 to April 9 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan ordered on Tuesday.

A division bench and two single benches of the high court will sit for holding special courts on April 1 and April 8, its registrar general Rai Chattopadhyay said in a communication of the chief justice's order.

Referring to various advisories issued by the Centre and the state government and notices by the Supreme Court, and noting that there is a total lockdown in West Bengal, resulting in difficulty in managing the functioning of the courts, the chief justice passed the order, the high court registrar general said in the communication.

The functioning of the district courts, including commercial courts, will also remain suspended during the period.

The respective district and sessions judges were directed to prepare a roster of magistrates for dealing with remands.

The Calcutta High Court and its circuit benches and subordinate courts in the state and Andaman and Nicobar islands have been hearing urgent matters since March 15 owing to the coronavirus scare.

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Most of the lawyers in different courts of the state are not appearing for hearings, following a resolution by the West Bengal Bar Council not to participate in judicial proceedings till March 31 in view of the prevailing situation.

On April 1 and April 8, a division bench comprising justices Dipankar Datta and Joymalya Bagchi will sit for taking up extremely urgent matters relating to the civil, writ and criminal jurisdictions.

A single bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee will take up for hearing extremely urgent civil matters in the appellate side and all original side matters, while Justice I P Mukerji will sit singly for taking up extremely urgent matters relating to criminal jurisdiction and writ petitions in the appellate side, according to the order of the chief justice.

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The functioning of the circuit benches at Port Blair and Jalpaiguri will also be suspended from March 25 to April 9, it said.

The West Bengal Judicial Academy will be kept open for the limited purpose of performing any urgent administrative work, according to the order.