In view of the sudden spurt and spike in Covid-19 cases in Delhi and issuance of yellow alert, the Delhi High Court and the district courts in the national capital will hold hearings only through the virtual mode from January 3 to 15, it was announced on Thursday.
As per the instructions of Delhi High Court's Chief Justice D.N. Patel, the courts will take up the matters, as per the existing arrangement with regard to the listing of cases, through videoconferencing mode.
"I have also consulted with the esteemed members of the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of this Court. They all are also of the view that immediate steps are required to be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of all the stakeholders while also ensuring that the justice delivery system remains functional. The inputs have also been taken from the President of Delhi High Court Bar Association as well as from the Chairman of Coordination Committee of All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi and other senior office bearers. As expected, they, too, have assured fullest cooperation on behalf of the Members of the Bar," the Chief Justice said.
The present grim scenario has left us with no other viable option, he added.
The video-conferencing links of the courts shall be made available on the website.
The Principal District and Sessions Judges, in consultation with the DG (Prisons), shall make necessary arrangements for extension of remand of undertrial prisoners.
Wherever required, such prisoners may be produced through video-conferencing, according to the office order released on Thursday.
The arrangement will continue till January 15 when it will be reviewed.
Welcoming the step, on behalf of North Delhi Lawyers Association(NDLA), advocate Vineet Jindal said: "I welcome this step but directions to pass adverse orders shall be there on non-attending of VC by either party to conduct effective hearings."
All the stakeholders including court staff, required to come to the courts, shall get themselves fully vaccinated and shall strictly adhere to the norms of social distancing and Covid-19 protocols, guidelines, directions, etc. issued by the Centre, the Delhi government and the court from time to time, the order read.