CJ strictly orders ‘No public entry’ in HC amid ‘alarming rise’ in COVID-19

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Srinagar: Observing that covid-19 cases are “increasing at an alarming rate”, Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Justice Pankaj Mithal has ordered strict compliance of its February 3 order by virtue of which the “entry of litigants and public into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall continue to be prohibited.

“In continuation to order and with a view to ensure recording of evidence, entry of witnesses and accused persons was also permitted vide High Court Order No. 875/RG dated 10.02.2021 subject to the strict compliance of latest SoPs pertaining to containment of COVID-19 infection,” the Chief Justice said in an order, copy of which lies with GNS.

“It has been observed that the guidelines/directions are not being strictly adhered to resulting in considerable increase in footfall in the Court premises, thereby enhancing the risk of spread of COVID-19 infection particularly when such infection cases are increasing at an alarming rate.”

Thus, keeping in view the “recent surge in COVID-19 infection cases,” the Chief justice reiterated the “guideline/direction” while asking the Registrars Judicial of both wings of the High Court and the presiding officers of all Courts in the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh to strictly implement the guideline/direction.

On February 3, physical hearing of cases in Courts was permitted amid set of guidelines to be followed. “Entry of litigants and public into the Court premises from the very outer gate shall continue to be prohibited,” the court had said. “If, however, any litigant on any reasonable ground is compelled to argue his case personally, he shall be allowed entry into the Court premises subject to the condition that he makes an application at least two days prior to the date of hearing through e-mail to the Registrar Judicial/Presiding Officer of the Court disclosing such compelling reasons and seeking permission in that regard.”

If and when any such application is made by any litigant, the Registrar Judicial/Presiding Officer concerned shall consider the same and, if satisfied, may permit such litigant to enter into the Court premises and inform the litigant of such order by return e-mail, the guidelines provided. “A copy of such order shall also be sent by the Registrar Judicial/Presiding Officer concerned to the lncharge, Security at the main gate of the Court premises for necessary action.” (GNS)

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