Patna: Physical hearing at Patna High Court resumed on Monday, after 306 days, and educational institutions, including schools, colleges, and coaching institutes too opened up after nearly nine months.
Courts and educational institutions were shut on March 18 following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak.
In accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) announced by the Registrar General of the Patna High Court, all courtrooms were opened in two shifts with 50% attendance of lawyers who were allowed to enter the courts after getting their e-passes a day earlier.
Only those lawyers were allowed to enter the court whose cases were listed for the day.
Social distancing was maintained in the courtrooms as a distance of six feet was observed between the lawyers by putting chairs at distance. All the chambers of the different associations were closed.
Only 25 cases were listed in each of the 22 courts. The Health department staff were seen providing sanitizers to all the lawyers before they were allowed entry into the court premises.
For the first time in the history of Patna High Court, Chief Justice Sanjay Karol issued an appeal to the members of the Bar and the Bench seeking their co-operation in conduct of the proceedings through social distancing.
In an appeal widely publicised here, Justice Karol said the COVID-19 pandemic had brought in challenges beyond human comprehension.
"Due to the team spirit exhibited by the judicial officers in Bihar, the constitutional mandate was fulfilled. Dispensing justice through the virtual medium just became the new norm", Justice Karol said.
He thanked the peons and the sweepers for their roles during the difficult times.
Attendance in schools and colleges was also very thin. Only senior students of classes 9-12 were allowed to come to their schools, provided they had consent letters from their parents.
The Education Department had issued instructions for only 50 per cent attendance in a shift and only one student was allowed to occupy the bench.
The school management and authorities were asked to run only 50 per cent of the buses and only one student was allowed on each of the seats.
All the students were handed over two masks before they entered the campus.
Canteens in the educational institutions shall remain closed and students were advised to bring their own food items.