Lower courts in 4 major Guj cities to resume physical hearings from March 1

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Ahmedabad, Feb 5 (PTI) With significant drop in coronavirus cases, the Gujarat High Court has decided to resume physical functioning of lower courts in four major cities of the state from March 1.

The courts in Gujarat had ceased their judicial work in March last year following the announcement of coronavirus- induced lockdown. But online hearings had started from June.

Starting January 18, all the lower courts across Gujarat, except those located in the four major cities- Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot- had resumed work from their respective premises following a high court's directive.

In a circular issued on Friday, the high court said that all 'subordinate courts, except in micro containment zones, at Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot shall start functioning physically from March 1 with regular court working hours of 10.45 am to 6.10 pm'.

All the lower courts in micro containment zones, if any, shall continue to carry out judicial work through video conferencing, it said.

Along with the circular, the high court also issued certain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which the courts need to follow during physical functioning from their premises.

The HC said that all the lower courts in these cities need to appoint a Covid Officer and dedicated staff 'to plan, oversee, execute and supervise all activities related to COVID-19'.

There should be only one gate for entry and exit, the high court said in the circular while directing that no one should be allowed to enter the court premises without wearing a mask. PTI PJT NP NP