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Madhya Pradesh HC Suspends Functioning Till 17th May In Wake Of COVID-19 Lockdown

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Saturday issued a circular by which the functioning of the High Court as well as of subordinate courts has been suspended till 17th of May, 2020.

The High Court circular ordered the extension of its closure till May 17th in wake of the extension of the Nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic The Chief Justice through the circular has notified extension of its previous circulars extending the duration of closure, from May 4th to 17th May 2020 for the High Court and all the Subordinate Courts of the State. The High Court has also decided to re-commence the functioning of the Bench at Indore through video conferencing.

The High Court of Madhya Pradesh has ordered an extension of previous circulars dated 25th March and 14th April and April 20th issued keeping in view the spread of COVID-19. The directions will be in operation till  May 17th . The Circular had also given instructions regarding video conferencing and E-filing guidelines that are to be followed for hearing urgent matters. 

Prohibition of entry: The entry to High Court will remain prohibited, and the administrative and judicial work will be communicated through the Registrar General and Principal Registrar. The entry to subordinate courts will also remain prohibited. The judicial officers and all staff members of all the courts will remain stationed at their places of posting.

Only urgent matters to be allowed: Only matters which are urgent or eminently emergent will be entertained on permission by the respective Judges. The lawyers will be notified the venue and mode of addressing the Court either through video conferencing or otherwise.

Staff members to have active mode of communication: All registry officers and other staff members will keep their mobile phones and contact numbers in active mode for receiving and executing any communications issued by their superiors for discharge of their duties.

Adherence to this Circular unless further Orders issued: The High Court and the Subordinate courts will function according to these guidelines, unless further orders are issued and decisions are taken by the Chief Justice.

Directions by Central and State Government to be followed: The directions and guidelines issued by the Central and State Government from time to time will be followed by the Courts. The guidelines issued by Department of Justice and Ministry of Home Affairs should be referred to.

No deviation from directions allowed: Any disobedience and deviation by any person will be taken very seriously.

Virtual hearing: The Principal Registrar after examining the matter will place the matter before approval of Chief Justice, who if satisfied with the grounds and nature of urgency of the matter, direct the matter to be registered. Once registered, the advocates will be notified through message or email about the details of the date and time slot for the hearing of the matter through virtual court.

Commencement of functioning of MP High Court at its Bench at Indore: The High Court of Madhya Pradesh has also decided to commence the functioning of its Bench at Indore through video conferencing.

Earlier, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh had suspended the working of its Bench at Indore, through video conferencing during the lockdown till May 3rd 2020, as an employee of the Registry was found positive for coronavirus. The Court, on April 27th through its circular had noted that more than 1000 positive cases of COVID-19 have been found in Indore city along with 171 hotspots. According to the information received, 20 of these zones had been declared highly sensitive.

An employee of the Registry at the Indore Bench had been found positive for the COVID-19 virus, and it had resulted in other officials being quarantined. The Chief Justice in consideration of this situation, and the risk of spread of the virus, had decided to suspend the hearing at its Indore Bench.

-India Legal Bureau

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