Due to a surge in Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, all subordinate courts work hours in the state have been restricted.
As per a notice issued on Monday by Bombay HC Registrar, the Chief Justice of Bombay HC, Dipankar Datta, & the HC Administrative Committee have directed that subordinate Courts in Maharashtra will function from 11 am to 1.30 pm & 2 pm to 4.30 pm on all working days from March 30.
Last week, Justice GS Patel had given lawyers & all parties with cases listed in his court the choice to attend a hearing through a video conferencing interface.
The notice issued by High Court earlier this week also said that lawyers & parties from outside of Mumbai should not travel here & must “invariably” opt for video-conference hearings.
The rest of the courts in the principal bench of Bombay HC are still conducting physical hearings for most matters.
On Saturday, the Bombay Bar Association had written to the CJ seeking hearings through video-conference or a combination of physical & online hearings amid the spike in Covid-19 numbers.
After the nationwide lockdown imposed in March last year, all benches of Bombay HC had stopped physical hearings, & were conducting hearings for urgent cases through video conferencing.
However, in Dec 2020, the principal bench resumed physical hearings on 4 of the 5 working days of a week.
On Fridays, a few designated courts hear such matters through video-conferencing where the lawyers or parties are not based in Mumbai.
Earlier this month, the Nagpur & Aurangabad benches of HC reverted to online hearings due to rising Covid-19 cases.