After having permitted physical functioning of courts in 19 districts with certain restrictions, the Madras High Court has now decided to explore possibilities of permitting a similar arrangement in 10 more districts in the State.
According to court sources, Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi has called for a meeting with the Principal District Judges (PDJs) of Coimbatore, Madurai, Thanjavur, Salem, Thoothukudi, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and Villupuram.
The meeting would be held on Thursday through video conferencing. Hence, the High Court’s Registrar General C. Kumarappan has asked all the 10 judicial officers to submit a report on the state of preparedness for commencing physical functioning of courts.
In an official communication to the PDJs on Tuesday, the R-G has asked them to forward soft copies of their reports to the High Court through e-mail by Wednesday. They had also been instructed to come up with suggestions and inputs during the meeting with the Chief Justice.
Functioning of courts across the State had been restricted to video conferencing mode ever since a nationwide lockdown was announced from March 25 to fight COVID-19. Thereafter, on May 29, the High Court permitted physical functioning of courts in nine districts.
On June 3, the permission was extended to 10 more districts on condition that no litigant or any other person would be allowed inside the court premises and all measures related to health and hygiene should be taken by the Principal District Judges.
Further, it was suggested that only 15 to 20 cases could be listed before each court every day and that the Principal District Judges could take a call on either increasing or reducing the number of cases to be heard by each judicial officer depending upon the circumstances.
“Lawyers above the age of 65 years may abstain from coming to court and instead avail the facility of video conferencing,” the High Court had said and ordered to keep closed, the Bar association halls, advocate chambers, libraries and canteens.