CJ directs hearing of urgent matters after lockdown ends

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, May 29: As the lockdown is shortly ending, the Chief Justice of High Court Gita Mittal issued direction for functioning of all the subordinate courts across the J&K subject to the condition upon removal of restrictions by the Government after May 31.
Issuing instructions for functioning of subordinate courts after May 31 which is the ending day of lockdown-4, CJ directed that cases like bails, domestic violence, custody of children, cases of maintenance and matters involving injunctions be treated as ‘Urgent Matters’.
All the courts have been instructed to publish and issue a weekly cause list of cases on last working day of the week and the same be also displayed on the website of the court. “For the time being only urgent matter shall be heard”, reads the circular issued from the office of Registrar General of High Court.
CJ instructed that urgent cases shall not be adjourned and all courts shall ensure that the cases like bails, domestic violence, custody of children, cases of maintenance and matters involving injunctions are heard with effective proceedings.
With regard to criminal cases pending in the courts, CJ said no such case shall be heard, adjourned unless the court finds the adjournment of the same beyond following day to be necessary for special reasons to be recorded.
All courts have been asked to hear the cases through Video Conferencing by observing the protocol of ‘Social Distancing’. CJ emphasized that court complexes shall be accessible only to advocates and litigants in persons with actual scheduled hearings.
“The concerned Presiding Officer shall arrange for the court rooms to be divided by the clear ‘Plastic sheets/acrylic partitioning’ ensuring separation of the Presiding Officers and staff from lawyers/litigants”, reads the circular.
In case lawyers are unable to reach the courts, they are permitted to make their submissions from their residences or officers. “In all cases of hearing, written arguments shall be submitted by emails by Advocates/litigants in person, subject to permission for oral submissions, if the lawyers/litigants so request”, CJ said
Every member of the Bar have been asked to provide mobile numbers, landline numbers or email to the office of the Principal District Judge within day of issuance of this circular so that these shall be displayed on the court website.
In order to ensure proper identification of litigant and lawyer when request is made of video calls, a photograph of party and lawyer is necessary. All courts have been asked to maintain the orders and physical record of full case filed on e-mode.
For the time being all bar rooms, lawyers chambers, canteens etc, CJ said, shall remained closed. However, Principal District Judges and the Presiding Officers of their courts can notify timing when the lawyers chambers could be accessed by the lawyers only for the purpose of taking out briefs of cases or books and no litigant or any other person shall be permitted to enter the chambers.
The circular reveals that all these instructions take effect from June 1 upon the conditions of removal of restrictions on movement by the Government and these instructions shall be subject to alteration as the situation demand from time to time.