Vaccinate advocates, court staff on priority or delay return to physical hearings: Plea in Delhi HC

The petition said that the Delhi High Court may kindly not show any haste for the opening of physical courts completely and may kindly continue to hear the matters in the manner it is hearing.

physical hearings till all advocates are vaccinated against Covid-19. The plea filed by Advocate Manashwy Jha sought the high court’s direction for halting its decision to commence physical hearings by all judges from March 15. The plea is likely to be listed for hearing later this week. The plea sought that either the lawyers and the judicial staff be treated as frontline workers and be vaccinated or the high court defer the implementation of its order of commencing physical hearing on all its benches and in all trial courts in the capital. “The Delhi High Court may kindly not show any haste for the opening of physical courts completely and may kindly continue to hear the matters in the manner it is hearing subject to necessary modification in the listing of the matters till such time the Advocates and their notified staff are not vaccinated,”

-the petition said.

“The Delhi High Court has throughout been extremely vigilant and careful about the benefit of the Advocates. The war with Covid-19 has almost been won by the human race, however, the petitioner most respectfully submits that any complacency may spoil all the efforts as taken by the Delhi High Court,” it said further.

On February 22, the Delhi High Court has ordered that all its benches would resume hearing the matters through physical mode with effect from March 15.

Its notification, signed by the Registrar General, said,

“It has been ordered that all Benches of this Court shall hold physical Courts, on a daily basis, with effect from 15.03.2021 and shall continue to take up the matters as per the existing arrangement of listing.” All subordinate courts in Delhi will be operating physically too from March 15. However, the court has said that in exceptional matters any of the parties could be allowed to appear virtually.

“It is expected that the Advocates, litigants and other visitors to this Court strictly adhere to the norms of social distancing and all other Covid-19 protocols, guidelines, directions, etc. Issued by the Government of India, Government Of NCT of Delhi and this Court from time to time,”

-the order said.

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