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Uttarakhand HC Issues Directions For Functioning Of Court As Per Government Guidelines

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The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday has issued directions for the functioning of High Court and also essential for health precautions in the larger public interest after having considered the new guidelines issued by the Government of India, regarding public movement and activities during COVID-19 Pandemic and consequential guidelines issued by the State Government.

In supersession of the High Court of Uttarakhand Notification issued on 11th April, 2020, read with Notifications issued in consequence thereof, the Chief Justice was pleased to order for working in the High Court, for which directions were issued.

It was said that the business of the High Court of Uttarakhand will be transacted for following types of cases, fresh or otherwise, till further orders-

  • Public Interest Litigations
  • Bail Applications
  • Criminal Appeals against convictions
  • Criminal Revisions against orders confirming convictions
  • Writ Petitions Criminal (WPCRL)
  • Writ Petitions (Habeas Corpus)
  • Writ Petitions seeking relief against eviction, ejectment,dispossession from property, or its demolition
  • Writ Petitions seeking relief against attachment, auction or any other similar legal recourse affecting the property.
  • Writ Petitions against orders passed by Courts/Tribunals subordinate to the High Court, or Adjudicatory Bodies, Boards,Commissions, Forums, Authorities etc. having jurisdiction over whole of the territory of the State, or any part thereof.
  • Writ Petitions against any major penalty passed in departmental proceedings.
  • Writ Petitions seeking relief in respect of recruitment, selection,promotion or transfer orders issued during the lockdown period.
  • Writ Petitions seeking relief in respect of admission in educational institutions, or for relief in respect of examinations conducted by such institutions.
  • Special Appeals, where applicable, against order passed in aforesaid matters.
  • Caveat Application.

It further mentioned that the present, other matters, fresh or pending, including pending civil matters, will be taken up with urgency application, in the same manner, matters are taken up during winter vacation of the Court and the filing will be from 10:00 AM to 1:30 P.M., and fresh matters will be listed on third day, save in cases, where the Court is closed on the third day, in which case, the matters will be listed on the first working day of the Court, falling immediately after such third day.

Whereas, without prior approval of the Chief Justice, not more than 25 matters will be listed before a Bench for one working day, and for this purpose, all connected/bunched matters will be counted, as if it is one matter. Also, all Petitions, Applications, Replies, Counter Affidavits, Rejoinders, Documents, Papers etc. will be filed in hard copies, as they are filed in normal days. In addition, soft copies in PDF of such hard copies will also be provided by e-mail to Institution Section, or Judicial Sections concerned, in their respective e-mail addresses, given in the official website of the High Court and the token number of the filing will be communicated to advocates/parties by return e-mail to e-mail addresses from which soft copies are received,as above.

The hard copies, as received above, will not be handled by staff other than the staff deputed to receive/handle such copies. The hard copies, will be kept in safe and ear marked place, and shall be processed on the next working day.

“Where defects, if any, are pointed out by Registry, they shall be communicated to the advocate concerned, only by e-mail or any other electronic mode of communication, and the matters shall be listed with defects, as they are listed during vacation of the High Court.

Without affecting discretion of the Hon’ble Judges to hold Courts from respective Court rooms in actual physical presence of advocates, hearing of cases shall be through Video Conferencing either from chambers in the High Court premises, or from residences of the Hon’ble Judges”, said the notification.

Thereafter, it was said that in pending matters, where there is request of the Registry to the advocates/parties concerned, they will, as far as possible, e-mail the scanned copies (by cam scanner or scanning machine) of the relevant papers of the pending matters, like copies of petitions, applications, affidavits, annexure, replies etc. held by them in their respective offices, in the PDF format, in chronological order. The scanned copies will be emailed to the concerned Section of the Registry.

Further, the directions were issued related to the entrance in the High Court premises, in which it was mentioned that entries in the High Court premises will be strictly regulated and will only be with gate pass. No person other than the High Court personnel, or personnel of other service provider Departments/Organizations, established in the High Court premises, will be issued gate pass to enter High Court premises, unless while applying for the gate pass, such person (advocate or advocate’s staff or party etc.), furnishes a self-declaration to the effect that he has been in Nainital/Bhowali/Bhimtal town or any other place situated within radius of 15 K.M. from the High Court, for not less than last 15 continuous days and has not experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 disease.Only such advocates/parties will be issued gate pass, whose cases are listed for hearing on that day. Gate pass will also be issued to only such advocate’s staff, whose presence is necessary for filing, for obtaining certified copy etc.

It was directed through the notification that all officers, staff, advocates, parties etc. will cover their face with mask,and will follow the norms of social distancing and guidelines issued by the Government/Local Authorities, regarding COVID 19 disease, when they enter the High Court premises.

The Advocates/parties will provide hard copies of petitions, applications,replies etc., whose soft copies have been filed under the aforesaid notification, within three working days from date of this Notification.Matters, pending or otherwise, which have already been considered for urgent hearing through video conferencing in accordance with the aforesaid notification and remain to be listed, will be listed only after hard copies of the Petitions, Applications etc. are filed by the advocates/parties.

-India Legal Bureau

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