Mumbai: Family court to hear urgent matters virtually from today

From today, the family court in Bandra will be taking up only urgent matters preferably through the virtual mode. This is pursuant to the directions of the Bombay High Court Administrative Committee on Friday restricting the functioning of subordinate courts in view of the COVID-19 surge from April 19.

Like other subordinate courts, it too will function only in one shift from 11 am to 1.30 pm. The decision to take up matters virtually was for the safety of all concerned, the office order of Saturday by the Family Court’s Principal Judge Manoj Sharma stated. Counselling and verification by the marriage counsellors will also be done through the virtual mode. “Considering the current situation all lawyers and litigants are requested to adopt virtual mode for hearing of urgent matters and avoid physical hearing,” it stated.

In light of the directions of the HC, a discussion was held by the judges of the Family Court and the President of the Family Court Bar Association regarding its functioning. There was a consensus between all stakeholders for this mode of functioning, it said.

The family court started functioning physically from end-last year after the lockdown had restricted its functioning. It was functioning minimally through the virtual mode entertaining only urgent matters until physical functioning began.

Similarly, the City Civil and Sessions Court also through a separate order by its incharge principal judge AT Wankhede, also on Saturday, announced functioning in one shift from 11 am to 1.30 pm. The magistrate courts will also function with the same working hours by an office order by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Esplanade Sayali T. Dande. They too will hear only urgent matters and take up remands.

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