Sunday, January 29, 2023

NCLT lists new SOPs for physical hearing, continuation of virtual hearing to all benches of Tribunal

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In supersession of earlier circulars issued by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) regarding the tribunal’s functioning during Covid Pandamic, the NCLT has issued a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for physical hearing, as well as the continuation of virtual. Keeping in view of the present situation and the Centre’s Covid guidelines, the tribunal has formed SOPs which are applicable to all NCLT Benches.

As per the updated SOPs, all the Tribunal benches will continue to receive online filing of cases through e-portal of NCLT and the advocate, who opt to attend the hearing through Video Conference, may send request with the item number to the concerned court officer.

While appearing before the NCLT physically, all the stake holders including the learned advocates, shall follow this SOP scrupulously along with other instructions issued by this Tribunal, the State and Central governments directions issued from time to time including maintaining physical distancing, use of masks, sanitizers etc.

The entry into the Tribunal premises only to the advocates/parties-in-person concerned, whose names are published in the cause list while the entry of parties or other stakeholders into the NCLT is permitted only if there is direction by the Tribunal to that extent, and subject to authorization given by the concerned advocate.

A person who have symptoms of cough, fever, running nose will not be allowed to enter into the NCLT premises. The advocates/parties-in-person/advocate clerks or other stakeholders, shall enter into the security zone through the main gate after showing their identity card and subjecting themselves to thermal screening at Security gate for detecting body temperature, the new circular said.

The entry into the Court Hall is only to the Counsel whose cases are listed in that particular Court. However, considering the physical distancing norms, the total number of advocates/parties-in-person in a case shall not exceed 6, 10 members. One Advocate per party will be allowed in each matter which is taken up for hearing by the bench and the other advocates/parties-in- person of next two cases in the cause List will and permitted to remain in the Court Hall, but in all not exceeding ten numbers at a time. This restriction does not apply to Sr. Advocates who are appearing in the matter for either parties.

Advocates are requested not to bring either Junior Counsel or Advocate Clerks into the Court Halls. Wherever the services of Senior Advocate are engaged, the briefing Counsel is allowed into the Court Hall along with the Senior Advocate. Advocate Clerks will enter into the Court Hall only to drop the files/books in the Court Hall and leave right away, they will not be permitted to loiter in side the Court Halls. However, the concerned Advocate Clerk who is assisting the Advocate inside the Court Hall may wait in the corridor wherein seating facility is provided.

Also Read: Revert to virtual hearings: Senior Advocate writes to Delhi HC CJ raising concern over new Omicron variant

The chairs in the Court Halls and Bar rooms are arranged in such a way that a minimum advised distance is maintained between the chairs.

Canteen and Cafeteria in the premises will remain closed for the time being. However, Safe Drinking Water is provided in the Waiting Hall.
All the Stakeholders shall leave the NCLT premises as soon as their matter is over.

Entry in to the NCLT premises by all the concerned shall be only between 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM on the working days so as to enable the sanitizing teams assigned for the purpose to carry out sanitization/deep cleaning of the premises according to the standard procedures in that behalf.

The entire Tribunal premises shall be sanitized/deep cleaned daily between 7.30 AM and 9.30 AM and after 4.30 PM.

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The Registry shall ensure that instructions issued by the Central, State Governments with regard to COVID-19 strictly adhered to.

All the Advocates/stake holders shall adhere to the SOP and are requested to cooperate with the Registry and security personnel posted at the entry points of the Security Zone and Court Rooms entrusted the task of implementing the aforesaid guidelines.

Parties are required to ensure that the VC proceedings and neither recorded/stored nor broadcast, in any manner whatsoever, as recording/copying/storing and or broadcasting, by any means, of the hearings and proceedings before the ational Company Law Tribunal are expressly prohibited.

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