Bombay HC urges Maharashtra to let lawyers travel by locals on a trial basis | Mumbai News

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MUMBAI: Observing that the Covid lockdown has to be gradually lifted, the Bombay high court on Thursday told the state to allow a few advocates to travel by locals on an experimental basis to attend physical hearings.
“We have to live with corona(virus). We have to live with social distancing,” said Chief Justice Dipankar Datta while hearing a PIL by lawyers to allow travel by train. The state had earlier toldthe HC they can’t be allowed on locals.
Advocate-general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said the situation had worsened. “It has gone from bad to worse. We are not presently inclined to allow them,” he said.
‘Less lawyers for four open courts’
The AG said news reports and photographs show trains are crowded and not enough social distancing was being maintained.
The CJ, who was hearing the case with Justice Girish Kulkarni, said HC opened four courts for physical hearing, but was not getting adequate lawyers to attend them. “One reason could be lawyers are not able to travel. Gradually, we have to open up,” said the CJ, who remarked that we have to live with coronavirus.
The judges said outstation trains like Kolkata-Mumbai resumed. “Come with a solution. This cannot continue for all times. If not each and every lawyer, devise a plan for some who have cases on a particular day,’’said the CJ, mooting e-passes. He said judges holding physical hearings complained that parties were unable to attend, adding, “If we find even after starting that advocates are not attending, we’ll have to revert to entire virtual hearing.’’ When advocate Shyam Dewani said trial court advocates must also be allowed too, the CJ said, “Let’s see what is happening in HC first…” The judges hoped for a solution in a week.



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