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Madras High Court dismisses petition seeking resumption of physical hearings, opening up of lawyers chambers

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The Madras High Court recently dismissed a petition seeking the resumption of physical hearings and opening up of lawyers chambers in Madurai bench while calling it an utterly meaningless petition filed by an uninformed lawyer.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice S. Ananthi passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Ukkrapandiyan. The Writ Petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus, directing the respondents to resume physical hearings fully and to open the lawyers chambers for the use of advocates in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court by taking into account the petitioner’s representation dated July 26, 2021 which would ultimately benefit the litigant public and the civil society at large.

The Court said that this is an ill-advised and utterly meaningless petition made by an uninformed lawyer and against public interest.

The Court observed, “For the purpose of the Petitioner’s profession, the Petitioner requires Courts to open so that the business may flourish. The Petitioner must be reminded that the entirety of the restrictions clamped by the State following the lockdown imposed in the wake of the second surge of the pandemic has not been lifted.

There is no conclusive scientific opinion as of date as to when a third or subsequent surge may arrive and the number of positive cases has been going up in a neighboring State at an alarming level over the last few days.

The Court further said that, the court has continuously warned that in such a situation, in public interest and to safeguard the health of all concerned, one must err on the side of caution. As it is there is the experience of the havoc that has been wrecked by the second surge of the pandemic since the country was caught unawares. Experts advise that the only protection is for vaccination to be completed so that even if the virus attacks an individual, the chance of fatality would stand reduced.

“While it is appreciated that not all persons, particularly parties intending to appear in person, may have access to smartphones or laptops or other gadgets to participate in the virtual hearing, matters are being taken up and disposed of on a regular basis without dismissal for default or ex parte orders being made. By and large, the substantial part of the working day is taken up by Judges sitting in Court, if not for the entirety of the working hours, without the Board being completed in certain cases.

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In the light of the above, uninformed petitions of the present kind are eminently avoidable, if only to allow the Court to concentrate on matters which require its attention and not waste time on the frivolous and the fanciful.”

“The Court dismissed the writ petition. The petitioner should exercise extreme restraint before invoking this extraordinary jurisdiction in public interest in future,” the Court ordered.

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