Open court hearings at Calcutta HC likely from July 6

Kolkata: Open court hearings at the Calcutta High Court may take place from July 6 onwards as representative associations of lawyers have not made further requests to their members not to appear in such hearings, sources said on Friday.

The High Court Bar Association had on June 6 resolved not to attend hearings in open courtrooms, citing the coronavirus situation.

The Bar Library Club, which had also taken a similar resolution, has not made further requests to its members not to appear in physical open courts, its honorary general secretary Pramit Ray said.

“It has been left to the individual lawyers to decide on whether to participate in the hearings in physical open court from Monday.

“But since the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing, it will be better if all matters are taken up for hearing virtually through video-conferencing,” he said.

Roy said the association would like the Calcutta High Court to take up all matters as was done before the lockdown and not only on the basis of urgency.

The High Court Bar Association held a meeting on Thursday wherein a number of members spoke in favour of resumption of participation in physical open courts, sources said.

The high court reopened its doors for physical hearing of cases on June 11 after a gap of over two-and-half months since normal functioning was stopped in the wake of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

It had been taking up only very urgent matters through video conference hearings.

The high court administration had on June 16 said that hearings through video conference will continue as earlier, along with physical functioning of the court.

Most lawyers, however, stayed away from physical hearings following a decision by the Calcutta High Court Bar Association not to attend the proceedings citing safety issues due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our members shall be participating in virtual hearing of all matters and electronic filing of all petitions before the High Court at Calcutta between June 17 and July 3,” the resolution said.

The Bar Library Club and the Incorporated Law Society had also made similar requests to their respective members.

Meanwhile, members of the Alipore Court Bar Association resolved to physically participate in all judicial proceedings from Saturday onwards and not to take part in any virtual hearing and e-filing of cases.

In a letter to the South 24 Parganas District and Sessions Judge at Alipore, Bar Association secretary Sudip Bhowmick said that all the courts should be opened regularly for physical hearing of cases.

The association also sought the safety and security of advocates within the court premises.

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