Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the Karnataka High Court and all the other courts in districts and taluks across the State has decided to take up only urgent cases for hearing. The decision is in effect from today, March 16. The move aims to prevent the spread of coronavirus by avoiding gathering of people, litigants, lawyers, visitors, and court staff.
The communication published on the official website of the State’s High Court states, “Having regard to the safety of all the litigants, lawyers, visitors to the court premises and the court staff, and with a view to assisting the efforts made by both the Central and the State Governments to prevent spread of COVID-19, the Chief Justice has issued several directions.”
Although, the courts will carry on its sittings on regular time at 10:30 am, but, only those cases will be taken which are marked urgent by the Bar Council members or the parties-in-person.
For the cases that are not urgent, the High Court and the courts in districts and taluks would take the case provided all the contesting parties on both the sides consent for taking up the matters. Otherwise, the dates would be assigned as per the discretion of the concerned courts.
Other than exceptional cases, no recoding of the evidence for witness will be carried rather postponed as per the concerned courts. However, the communication does state that videoconferencing can be resorted to for this purpose.
Further, the communication states that visitors will be put to thermal screening by the State Health Department officials from March 17, whereas, the Bar members will be screened in High Court’s offices.
Moreover, both the Bar members and the staff have been asked to follow the advisory issued by the Health authorities. In case the court staff are showing the symptoms, the concerned person is asked to immediately consult the Health Department officials, and in emergent cases, contact Arogya Sahayavani on – 104.