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Delhi HC, district courts to resume complete physical functioning from March 2

By PTI Updated: Feb 11, 2022 9:15 pm

New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Friday said it will resume complete physical functioning from March 2 onwards while allowing hybrid or virtual hearing in exceptional circumstances on a case-to-case basis.

The high, in an administrative order, advised all stakeholders to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest and stated that in the meantime, only a suitable number of benches will hold physical courts.

In a separate administrative order, the high court informed that the district courts in the city will also witness a similar graded physical opening from next week with complete resumption from March 2 onwards.

All the Principal District and Sessions Judges and the Principal Judge, Family Court (HQs) shall prepare a roster of judicial officers of their respective districts/Family Courts in such a manner that w.e.f. 14.02.2022, around 50% of the total strength of judicial officers hold the court physically while the others take up the matters through virtual mode, the order concerning district courts said.

The aforesaid arrangement (of limited physical benches) shall continue up till 28.02.2022 and from 02.03.2022, there shall be the complete resumption of physical hearings… After the complete resumption of the physical hearing, the Courts may, in exceptional circumstances on a case-to-case basis, permit hybrid/video-conferencing hearing, the high court clarified in the two orders.

The high court said that all advocates, staff officials, litigants, and other visitors shall follow all the COVID-19 protocols, guidelines, directions, etc. issued by the central government, Delhi government as well as court administration from time to time.

All stakeholders are also advised to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest, the orders said.

On December 30, the high court – which resumed physical hearings from November 22 had decided to shift to the virtual mode from January 3 in view of the rise in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent ‘yellow alert’ declared by the government in the national capital.

The decision to go back to the virtual system was taken after an office note was placed before Chief Justice D N Patel highlighting the rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 infections.

The high court had first moved to the virtual system in March 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19, and subsequently, few benches had started holding physical courts every day on a rotation basis.

Last year, complete physical hearings were resumed in high court from March 15 but on April 8, it was ordered that matters would be taken up through virtual mode only on account of the second wave.

By PTI Updated: Feb 11, 2022 9:15:33 pm