Bombay HC Bench Reverts to Virtual Hearings from April 5 Amid Covid-19 Surge

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A division bench of the Bombay High Court on Saturday decided to revert to virtual hearings from April 5 in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai. The bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale will take up their judicial assignment through video- conferencing instead of physical hearings, a notice issued V R Kachare, Registrar Judicial said.

“As a precautionary measure in view of COVID-19, the hearing of matters will be conducted via video conferencing,” the notice said. Apart from this bench, a single bench of Justice Gautam Patel conducts hearings in a hybrid system, with both physical and video-conferencing options available to lawyers and litigants to argue their case.

All other benches of the High Court are hearing matters physically. Earlier this month, the Nagpur and Aurangabad benches of the High Court reverted to virtual hearing of cases owing to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Following the nationwide lockdown imposed in March last year, all benches of the Bombay High Court had stopped physical hearings, and were conducting hearings for urgent cases through video-conferencing. However, in December last year, the principal bench at Mumbai resumed physical hearings for all cases on four out of the five working days of a week.

On Fridays, a few designated courts hear such matters through video-conferencing where lawyers or parties are not based in Mumbai.