Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court extended by the end of this month its order regarding virtual hearing of cases amid a surge in COVID cases in JK.
“After taking note of the rising trend of Covid-19 Infection cases and the prevailing situation due to the spread of such infection, the High Court order No. 189 of 2021/RG dated 05.04.2021, is extended up to 30th April 2021,” reads an order by Registrar General, Jawad Ahmad. .
The April 5 order was issued by Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and by virtue of it, the hearing of cases in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir as well as in the District and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals shall be conducted through “virtual mode” only.
“Entry of litigants and public into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall continue to be prohibited,” reads the order.
In addition to virtual hearing, the Chief Justice had said that the matters may also be taken up for physical hearing, where the counsel for both the parties to the case gives their consent for such physical hearing. “if counsel for either party declines or fails to give such consent in that event the roster bench may consider the request of other counsel for physical hearing,” the order reads.
Identification of cases for physical hearing shall be done by the concerned Registrar Judicial a day before the date of listing, the order had said.
“Advocates concerned in a particular case, who intend to get their case listed for physical hearing, shall give written consent for physical appearance and provide the requisite detail of the case to the concerned Registrar Judicial through email at least two days before the date of listing.”
The Registrar Judicial concerned, then, shall provide a list of such counsel whose cases are listed for physical hearing, well in time to the in-charge Security at the main gate to facilitate entry of such counsel, it had said.
“In order to decongest the sections/ offices /Courts, the officials shall be permitted to function in batches with 25 per cent reduction on a rotation basis.”
The roster in this regard, the order had said, shall be formulated by the Registrar Judicial of the concerned wing.
“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.”
Regarding district and Subordinate Courts and Tribunals in J&K and Ladakh, the CJ‘s order said that entry of litigants and public into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall continue to be prohibited. “Pr. District & Sessions Judges, taking into consideration the urgency involved, apart from virtual hearing, may, where the counsel for the parties /parties in person involved give their consent to appear for the physical hearing, permit physical hearing in Criminal trials where accused is /are in Custody, Matrimonial Cases, MACT Cases, Cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, Compromise matters or in any other matter as deemed desirable in the courts under their jurisdiction.”