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BCD suggests Delhi HC measures to ensure smooth functioning of courts after lockdown withdrawal

ANI | Updated: Apr 25, 2020 19:41 IST


New Delhi [India], April 25 (ANI): Bar Council of Delhi on Saturday suggested Delhi High Court several additional measures that can be incorporated to ensure the smooth functioning of the court after the withdrawal of the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
BCD Chairman advocate KC Mittal, in a letter to Delhi High Court Registrar General Manoj Jain, said that the council "whole-heartedly" welcomes the court's initiative to create a "Graded Action Plan" to meet the challenges which may occur after the withdrawal of lockdown.
"The country is passing through a very critical phase because of the spread of COVID-19. The experience of these days hasn't been very encouraging since barring a section of advocates, majority of advocates in High Court and District Courts, those who are not computer savvy and could not avail video-conferencing, have failed to approach the courts," the letter said.
It said that the Bar Council of Delhi has always emphasized that, if regular hearings are not possible, some broad parameters and adequate protection measures may be introduced to hold few courts by restricting and regulating the entry of advocates through a protective mechanism in the courts so that minimum possible work can be undertaken.
"In the courtroom, keeping in view the size of the room, chairs should be kept at a distance and there should be 5-6 feet distance between Judge and Lawyer which is already prevalent in the High Court and to ensure the same criteria in District Courts, Big Court Halls can be opened for a court hearing," the BCD suggested.
It said that the High Court should have separate ingress and egress gates and the entry gates must be equipped with COVID testing instruments and sanitization tunnel at each entry.

"The timing of hearing of each case should be fixed and there must be a time gap of 2-3 minutes in the hearing of next matter so that the concerned advocate can come inside the court hall," the council said.
"Fewer cases should be marked to each Judge and every advocate should mention on his file about the likely period of putting forth his arguments in his case and the matter should be listed two days after the filing of the same and in case hearing of the said case takes more time then the next case listed in the cause list may be called at the time given in the cause list and the part-heard case should be taken up at end of the board," it added.
It said that only two advocates for each party should be allowed in the same manner as a senior designate advocate appears along with the briefing counsel.
The Judges hearing the case should be provided with glass shield and arrangement of mikes, if necessary be made for the Judges as well as for the lawyers, it said. It also suggested limiting fresh matters to 10 each court and pending urgent matters be listed in the same ratio.
The BCD suggested restricting the entry of advocates and litigants not listed for the day in the Court Halls and added that provision for live proceedings of the court hearing should be made at the earliest, which will be useful in the future for reducing congestion.
"The lawyers may be allowed to have access to their chambers in all court complexes in a limited manner, restricting the numbers floorwise, date and time. It can be streamlined by the respective Bar Associations and the District Judge/Administrative Judge must ensure social norms as prescribed," it added.
It also suggested that identity cards issued by the Bar Council of Delhi should be deemed to be curfew passes and corridors be made in the premises for walking with social distancing markings. (ANI)

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