COVID-19: Work hours of Maha subordinate courts restricted

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Mumbai, Mar 29 (PTI) Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, work hours of all subordinate courts in the state have been restricted.

As per a notice issued on Monday by Bombay High Court Registrar, the Chief Justice of Bombay HC, Dipankar Datta, and the HC Administrative Committee have directed that subordinate courts in Maharashtra will function from 11am to 1.30 pm and 2pm to 4.30 pm on all working days from March 30.

Last week, Justice GS Patel had given lawyers and all parties with cases listed in his court the choice to attend hearing through a video conferencing interface.

The notice issued by HC earlier this week also said that lawyers and parties from outside of Mumbai should not travel here and must 'invariably' opt for video-conference hearings.

The rest of the courts in the principal bench of Bombay HC are still conducting physical hearings for most matters.

On Saturday, the Bombay Bar Association had written to the CJ seeking hearings through video-conference or a combination of physical and online hearings amid the spike in COVID-19 numbers.

After the nationwide lockdown imposed in March last year, all benches of Bombay HC had stopped physical hearings, and were conducting hearings for urgent cases through video conferencing.

However, in December last year, the principal bench resumed physical hearings on four of the five working days of a week.

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

Earlier this month, the Nagpur and Aurangabad benches of HC reverted to online hearings owing to the rising COVID 19 cases. PTI AYA BNM BNM