The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said while it was aware of the hardships faced by lawyers in Mumbai, it could not go beyond medical advice and permit them to use the local train services for travelling to work.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni, however, directed the Maharashtra government to inform the court by July 16 of its decision on whether or not 60 registered judicial clerks of the high court could be permitted to use the trains since the HC was currently permitting the only physical filing of cases.
The HC was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) seeking permission for lawyers to use the local trains to travel to courts and their offices.
The bench said following its administrative committee meeting on July 1, the HC had asked the state government to decide on the permission for the judicial clerks. It had decided against permitting lawyers from using the trains till the COVID-19 situation in the state improved further.
On Tuesday, when the bench directed the state's counsel Poornima Kantharia to let the court know of the state's decision, advocate Shyam Devani, the counsel for one of the petitioners, reiterated that lawyers were also facing difficulties in commuting to work.
At this, the bench said, "Don't think we are not concerned about lawyers' problems. But we can't go beyond medical advice." "We are taking advice from the highest expert body in the state, the Maharashtra COVID-19 task force," the court said.
The HC will hear the plea further on July 16.
The local train services in Mumbai are currently restricted to emergency and essential services staff.