The Kerala High Court has extended the interim orders in the matter of all the proceedings pending before the High Court, Lower Courts and Tribunals in the State of Kerala till 29.06.2021, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On June 14, 2021, the High Court has noted that the Government of Kerala has extended the lockdown till 16.06.2021, subject to the conditions in the said Govt Order. Noting down the submissions made by the Advocate General that Govt is reviewing the situation and there is a likelihood of Govt order being issued, the High Court has extended its interim orders which were passed previously on May 19, 2021, till June 29, 2021. The Court has directed the Registry to list the Suo Motu plea on June 28, 2021.
The High Court passed its order in a Suo Motu writ petition initiated by itself on 25th March 2020, in which a Detailed had been passed wherein the Court had extended the interim orders granted by the High Court and the Custody orders, in respect of Children issued by the Family Courts, which were due to expire during the period of lockdown restrictions. The Court had later modified its order on 30th March, 2020. The said orders were periodically extended on various dates.
On May 19, the High Court after considering the emergent situation which has arisen due to Covid second wave and the consequent lockdown by the state govt has passed various directions by also taking into account the restoration of the orders passed by the apex court on 07/05/2021, in view of the same.
The High Court has extended all the interim orders passed by all the Courts/Tribunals upon which High Court exercises supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, which were due to expire during the lockdown period and extended them upto 31.05.2021.
The High Court has Noted that as per its previous order dated 30/03/2020, “it had directed the Superintendent of the Jails Concerned to release the category of prisoners with respect to whom the interim bail is granted as mentioned above, on their furnishing a declaration showing their intended place of residence, with their telephone number and the telephone number of any of their family member or other relatives, and on executing a self bond, without sureties, ensuring that they will appear either before the court concerned or before the Superintendent of jail as and when required.”
The Court said that the prisoners released on interim bail, as mentioned above, shall report to the local police station within their place of residence, immediately on reaching its jurisdiction. The jail authorities shall also give due intimation to such police stations, with respect to release of the prisoners. The declaration executed by the prisoners shall also contain an undertaking to the effect that they will strictly abide by the guidelines issued with respect to keeping of social distancing, in the wake of the declared lockdown. They shall also undertake that they will remain in their declared place of residence, totally avoiding any type of travel or exposure to the public. “On the same lines, the interim bail granted, as above, shall be limited upto 31.05.2021 or till the end of the lockdown period by the Government, whichever is earlier. In case, the lockdown period is extended beyond 31.05.2021, the interim bail granted will continue till such extended period. On expiry of the period of interim bail, as mentioned above, released prisoner shall appear before the jurisdictional court, within 3 days thereof,” said the Court.
The Court further stated that, “with respect to the matters under Sec.138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, Courts would have issued directions, for appearance or payment of certain amounts, due under cheques issued and dishonoured, and in such matters also, there will be a difficulty for the litigant to adhere to the directions/orders issued, as regrds appearance or payment, within such time as ordered, as the case may be, and considering the lockdown and the restriction in movement of the above, to seek for modification of any such orders, the same have to be regulated as well.”
“In the above circumstances, we direct that with respect to the matters arising out of the proceedings under Sec.138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, interim orders, if any, issued already need not be enforced until 31.05.2021,” the Court directed.