Orissa HC Orders Normal Functioning Of Subordinate Courts

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has issued following guidelines for the functioning of subordinate courts and Tribunals, in supersession of all previous resolutions on the subject amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Odisha, as per a notification issued by the Registrar General on Friday:

— The subordinate courts and Tribunals shall function during usual official timings from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm during working days except at places where lockdown/shutdown is imposed or containment zone declared by the competent authority.

— Working of subordinate courts/Tribunals shall remain suspended in areas where containment zone has been declared by the competent authority.

— The subordinate courts/Tribunals, where there is no shutdown/lockdown, shall, as far as possible, resume normal functioning during court hours by virtual mode/video conferencing.

— If hearing in a particular court is not possible by virtual mode due to lack of proper internet connectivity or any other technical reason or in areas where there are no COVID restrictions in place, physical hearing in courts at such places may be permitted with all precautions, by strictly adhering to the norms of social distancing, wearing of mask and avoiding large congregation.

— The subordinate courts and Tribunals shall take up all kind of cases, especially those pertaining to UTP, the trial of civil cases, for the recording of evidence and other old matters etc. The physical presence of the parties shall not be insisted unless the same is unavoidable. The courts, however, shall avoid passing any adverse order for reason of absence of parties, any advocate, accused or witnesses.

— Production of the accused before the court may be unless specifically directed otherwise for any reason, accepted by video conferencing. But the accused shall be required to be produced before the magistrate for remand in the first instance. However, subsequent remand may be granted by video conferencing.

— The advocates of all the parties shall be persuaded to participate in the proceedings of all type of cases, especially UTP matters, old suits, appeals, revisions and matrimonial and family disputes and shall be encouraged to file written arguments in advance, so as to minimize the time of the hearing.

— The cause lists, orders passed by the courts and next date of the cases, shall be uploaded on the website of the district courts concerned at the earliest.

— If the competent authority declares lockdown/shutdown in any part of the state, the District Judge concerned shall in such area restrict the functioning of the court to take up only urgent matters under intimation to the High Court.

— The Registry of the High Court shall separately issue detailed guidelines containing modalities for working of the subordinate courts and the Tribunals vis-å-vis national directives for COVID-19 Management and guidelines issued by the state government with the approval of the Chief Justice.

THigh Court shall have restricted functioning by virtual mode/video conferencing up to September 16 as per the roster assigned by the Chief Justice. Hearing of cases, however, shall take place as per notification issued on August 2, both of old hearing matters listed by the Registry as well as fresh urgent matters on an advance memo submitted by learned advocates/litigants to the Deputy Registrar (Judicial) by e-filing mode/e-mail/drop box with advance intimation to the opposite parties, on the web-link provided to the concerned advocates/litigants, who may appear from their residence or offices. Filing of new cases/counter affidavit etc. shall be permitted only by e-filing mode or email or drop box.

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