Punjab Haryana HC to take call on court proceedings amid COVID-19 scare today

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Thermal screening at Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh on Friday. (Express Photo)b and haryana

The Punjab and Haryana High Court will on Monday take a decision regarding functioning of the court in the wake of the coronavirus scare.

"The meeting of the...Administrative Committee of this court is scheduled to be held on March 16 at 9.30 am to consider the advisory issued by the Government of India and World Health Organisation in the wake of outbreak of Novel Coronovirus (COVID-19)," read a communication addressed by the Registrar General to the Secretary of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.

The Bar Association had on Friday asked the High Court administration to restrict functioning of the court to only hearing of urgent matters, which involve prayers for stay and bail. The letter addressed to the Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and two other senior judges of the High Court also requested the court to notify that only lawyers who are to appear in a matter are allowed inside courtrooms.

In a notice issued Sunday morning, the High Court as a precautionary measure allowed lawyers to seek adjournment in cases already listed on Monday. The lawyers were told to submit adjournment slips between 1-5 pm on Sunday itself, if they want to seek adjournment on Monday, adding that matters will be adjourned subject to agreement from both parties in the case.

The Bar Association Executive Committee on Sunday evening advised advocates to avoid coming to court there are any urgent, unavoidable circumstances.

"Lawyers may advice their clients not to visit the court unless their presence is directed by the court," said a resolution passed by the Executive Committee, adding that no adverse orders will be passed by the courts in case of non-presence of any parties on Monday as "directed by the Chief Justice".

The Executive Committee also decided to provide hand sanitisers at adequate places of entry and exit and also requested the advocates to carry their own hand sanitisers.

Avoid handshake greetings and public gatherings, the resolution said.