Bombay high court
MUMBAI: Citing the deaths of eight advocates due to Covid-19, the Bombay City Civil and Sessions Court Bar Association on Tuesday wrote to Bombay high court chief justice requesting him not to start ‘physical’ courts for now. “As and when it becomes…safe for advocates and litigants to attend courts, the physical functioning may be started,” it said.
The association said with trains discontinued and only buses plying, it was difficult for lawyers and litigants, most of whom live in the distant suburbs, to reach court safely.
Following a HC-prescribed SOP, the sessions court began work in two shifts from Mond-ay. In addition to bails filed pre-lockdown and anticipatory bail pleas, courts will hear matt-ers fixed for judgment, appeals and final hearing where witness presence isn’t essential.
But the association highlighted that a staffer had tested positive at Dindoshi sessions court. Expressing concern for elderly lawyers, it said that the virus had not reached its peak in Mumbai and submitted a video of a doctor who predicted a surge of cases in India in July.
After Monday’s chaos, the sessions court had a smoother run on Tuesday. Acrylic shields were installed on the judges’ dais and two judges stood at the entrance and ensured the staff managed the situation. On Monday, lawyers had complained that they were made to wait for two hours for entry. “The courts showed proactiveness by deputing staff and cops to help advocates…” advocate Vaibhav Jagtap said. Last week, Esplanade CMM Bar Association wrote to chief metropolitan magistrate expressing fear for lawyers’ lives due to the virus.