The Bombay High Court on Monday has issued a circular on precautions to be taken during the course of transaction of business in courts of Maharashtra, Goa, Union Territories of Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
The circular reads as “In continuation with earlier circulars issued from time to time by the High Court, the Hon’ble the Chief Justice and Hon’ble Judges of Administrative Committee have been pleased to issue the following directions that –
A. The Courts shall function as they are functioning presently i.e. taking up remand work and extremely urgent matters as per guidelines issued in circular dated 16.04.2020 until further orders.
B. The Annual General Transfer of this year is kept in abeyance till April, 2021.”
It was further said that the Government of Maharashtra has issued guidelines for precautions to be taken by staff while working which should be noted by the Courts in the State of Maharashtra, State of Goa and Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu. After a comprehensive review, and in view of the Lock down measures having led to significant gains in the COVID-19 situation in the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of Government of India has issued an Order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to further extend the Lock down for a further period of 2 weeks beyond 4th May, 2020 and it is necessary to scrupulously follow new guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs.
The circular mentioned that COVID-19 pandemic requires precautions to be taken by everyone during lockdown and accordingly it further notified that it will be necessary while entering the Court Complex, to take the following precautions in the interest and safety of everyone:
- It is advisable for all Advocates, Litigants and members of staff to install the Arogya Setu app on their mobile phones.
- Identity proofs of Advocates and litigants shall be asked for at the entry point of the Court Complex.
- A register be maintained at the entry point of the court complex and names of the entrants be recorded in the said register, after verifying due identification.
- No person shall be permitted to enter the premises of Courts without wearing a mask.
- Anyone showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, after his apparent screening, shall not be allowed to enter or remain in the Court rooms. To meet any exigencies, pursuant to anyone found with COVID-19 symptoms, an isolation room shall be earmarked to isolate the said person and undertake the further course of action vis a vis further treatment at Hospital.
- At the entry point / gates of the Court Complex keep liquid soap and water for hand wash. At the entrance of each Court hall, as far as possible make provision of hand sanitizer.
- Necessary social distancing shall be maintained during the transaction of the Court business. Wherever there is a provision of lift, it should be ensured that not more than fifty percent ofthe capacity allowed at a time. As far as possible, the members of the Staff, Advocates and Litigants who are young and not differently abled should be encouraged to make use of stairs for their own safety.
- The Advocates and Litigants shall be advised to follow strict social distancing while accessing any department of Courts.
- The Departments shall endeavour to allot a time slot to address any query on the part of Advocates and Litigants and adhere the time slot in consonance with the social distancing mechanism.
- The Judges and the members of the staff, in the unlikely event of having any symptoms of COVID-19, are requested to immediately report the same to the Medical Centre and also the Principal District Judge / Principal Judge and District Registry. Same request is also made to the High Court employees who shall report to the concerned Registrar of their Department.
-India Legal Bureau