Subordinate courts have been asked not to allow crowding inside halls and court premises
The Kerala High Court has issued advisories and guidelines for the functioning of subordinate courts in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the State.
The High Court Registrar (District Judiciary) P.G. Ajithkumar has ordered the subordinate courts not to allow crowding inside court halls or on court premises under any circumstances.
The presiding offices have been directed to ensure that only a minimum number of persons attend the court at a time. The court may reduce the number of cases in the cause list and give time slots for each case or split the posting of cases in the morning and afternoon for regulating the number of persons present. Besides examination of witnesses, other court proceedings may also be done through video-conferencing if possible.
Priority to old cases
A reasonable number of witnesses shall alone be summoned on a particular day. Priority should be given to old cases and those wherein time-bound disposal is prescribed by higher courts. Examination of witnesses through video-conferencing can be done wherever possible following the guidelines.
The courts shall ensure physical distancing norms inside the courts as well as on verandas by arranging seats, and ensure strict compliance with directives issued by the Centre and State governments from time to time.
The presence of parties shall be insisted only if necessary, and the party voluntarily coming to court will be allowed entry only if he/she carries a letter issued by his/her counsel stating that his/her presence in courts on that day is very essential.
The courts have also been ordered to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 preventive measures such as wearing of masks, use of hand sanitizers and social distancing norms.