Virtual hearing in HC, other J&K courts to continue till Feb 15

Virtual hearing in HC, other J&K courts to continue till Feb 15

Srinagar: Keeping in view the surge in highly infectious Omicron variant of coronavirus, J&K and Ladakh High Court has extended the virtual mode of hearing till February 15.

“In continuation to the earlier directions dated 12.01.2022 and keeping in view the alarming surge in new COVID variant Omicron in the country in general and UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh in particular, the hearing/filing of cases in the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as well as in the District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals shall be shall be only through virtual mode” reads an order issued by Registrar General Sanjeev Gupta.

According to the order, for smooth hearing of the cases through virtual mode, the Registrars (Judicial) of both wings of the High Court in coordination with the CPC e-Courts shall create a link for each Bench in their respective wings and provide the same to the advocates/litigants by making it available on the official website of the High Court or through any appropriate electronic mode.

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While the order indicates that the entry of litigants and public into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall be strictly prohibited, it says the entry of clerks of the advocates shall be restricted to the chambers of advocates and their entry into the court building and sections/offices shall be prohibited.

In order to decongest the sections, offices and Courts, the order said, the officials shall be permitted to function in batches with 50 per cent reduction on rotation basis. “The roster in this regard, shall be formulated by the Registrar Judicial of the concerned wing.”

While the order indicates that the officials, who as per the roster are not on duty in the office shall not leave the station and shall remain available on telephone and electronic means of communication at all times, it says staff members with known conditions of co-morbidity and pregnant women shall be exempt from attendance.

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The Registrars (Judicial) of both wings of the High Court, the order says, shall ensure regular sanitization of the entire High Court Complexes, particularly on every Saturday and Sunday.“The staff on duty shall take necessary precautions, ensure physical distancing, wearing of masks and observance of SOPs and guidelines issued by the Government from time to time.”

“On account of virtual hearing, entry of lawyers in the High Court premises is not required”.

With regard to district and subordinate courts and tribunals in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh the order said: “ordinarily the Presiding Officers of the Courts shall hear the cases through virtual mode from their respective courtrooms and chambers during court hours”.

“However, physical hearing in respect of any such listed matter will be at the discretion of the Presiding Officer concerned subject to the satisfaction of the Presiding officer in such matters especially the bail matter, and thereafter such matter can be taken up for physical hearing on the date fixed by the Presiding Officer.” “Entry of the general public into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall be strictly prohibited.” (GK)

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