COVID-19: BCD urges HC to shutdown courts till Mar 31

Coronavirus pandemic: Bar Council of Delhi urges High Court to shutdown courts till March 31

The Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) has urged the Delhi High Court to consider total shutdown of courts till March 31, in view of lockdown in the national capital to contain coronavirus pandemic.

The BCD wrote a letter to the Delhi High Court Chief Justice saying that in view of the preventive measures to curtail the spread of virus, it is necessary to take effective and preventive measures.

" is noticed that even though the urgent matters are listed before the courts the situation is similar to as observed during the vacations. However, since there is no official declaration of holidays, the advocates and litigants do come to courts.

"In this situation, it may be considered to go for a total shutdown for the period up to March 31, 2020 which should be declared as vacations," the letter stated.

BCD chairman K C Mittal also said the cases listed during this period may be adjusted by curtailing the future holidays to compensate and dates may be notified by the high court and district courts in advance to the advocates and litigants.

The letter suggested that only urgent matters may be listed by constituting special courts and hearing be conducted through video conferencing.

The BCD said no advocates or their staff and litigants be allowed to enter the court premises except those involved in urgent matters and the court premises, including chamber blocks be sanitised periodically.

The high court on March 20 had decided to extend till April 3 the restrictions on its functioning to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The decision, taken by an eight-judge committee headed by Chief Justice D N Patel, was communicated in a notification issued by the high court's Registrar General.

The notification indicated the judges who would be conducting proceedings during the period of restricted functioning.

The high court had on March 13 decided to restrict its functioning from March 16 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thereafter, on March 16 it decided that the restricted functioning would continue till March 20.

It has also issued directions for combating spread of COVID-19 in the district courts of the national capital.

It has said that as functioning of the district courts stood substantially restricted, "there was no requirement for the entire workforce of court officials to report for duty on a daily basis". 

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