The High Court has notified the modalities for ensuring that hearings are conducted while maintaining norms for prevention of spread of COVID-19.
The Rajasthan High Court has notified that on conclusion of its summer vacation, it will start regular functioning from Monday, June 29 with preventive measures against COVID-19 still in place.
In its notification dated June 12, the Court has said that all Benches of the High Court will function regularly. The Benches will convene at 10:30 AM and sit till 4:30 PM while breaking for an hour for lunch. The notification to this effect says that listing of matters before each Court will be restricted to 100 items each. The Court schedule and listing restriction may be revised from time to time.
Steps will be taken for ensuring that sufficient distance is maintained between courtrooms and between chairs placed inside each courtroom, the notification says.
The Court will permit both forms of hearing – physical hearings as well as hearing through video conferencing – with certain conditions. The notification specifies,
“The hearing of only fresh and uncontested matters of where all the Counsel appearing in a case appear through video conferencing, shall be done through video conferencing.”
Physical hearings will be conducted first, followed by hearing through video conferencing.
For expeditious disposal of cases, the Court has also mandated exchange of written submissions by the parties in contested cases. All fresh filings may be done manually or through e-filing, the notification further adds. However, in case of manual filings, the counsel shall ensure that all precautionary measures are taken.
Presence of court clerks in the Court premises is sought to be minimized till normalcy returns, and entry inside the courtroom shall be granted only to those counsel who have to make submissions before the Court. Advocates are advised to come alone, while Senior Advocates are allowed to take assistance from only one other advocate. Entry of interns is prohibited.
Importantly, everyone in the Court premises has to mandatorily to wear a face mask; lawyers and staff have also been encouraged to wear hand gloves. Wearing of coats and gowns for advocates is made optional.
The personnel deputed at entry points for conducting screening of all entrants will be equipped with PPE kits. Advocates, court staff, and litigants coming from containment zones, hot spots or restricted areas will not be permitted to enter the Court premises.
The notice also mentions other details pertaining to maintenance of hygiene and requirement of sanitization of the premises from time to time.