Stop Overcrowding Courtrooms: HC Judge Issues Notice

Mumbai: Justice Gautam Patel of Bombay High Court has issued a notice, highlighting the gathering of large crowds inside courtrooms amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai.

The judge will henceforth regulate the number of people entering his courtroom. And if people don’t adhere to COVID regulations like mask and social distancing, Justice Patel has said that he will start hearing cases online.

“There is far too much overcrowding in Court Room 37. Advocates and parties are not observing safety norms and precautions. For this reason, with immediate effect, only those who have matters in court will be permitted entry. There may be a random check and those without matters will be made to leave,” Justice Patel stated.

“Advocates and parties should come to Court only in accordance with their case time slots. These time slots are specified at the top of the board. This is for a reason, which should be obvious,” he added.

He also made it clear that advocates allotted the next slot should not report to his courtroom ahead of time.

“The associate has been instructed to issue messages on the display board if the previous time slot is delayed for any reason,” he said.

“If these minimal precautionary measures are not observed, the court will immediately suspend all physical hearings and revert to online hearings in all matters,” Patel said.

All courts in India had switched to online hearings after the COVID pandemic broke in March last year. Physical hearings restarted six-seven months.

Bombay High Court has been conducting both virtual hearings, as well as physical hearings for specific cases.

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